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Kainai First Nation hopes to see financial benefit from wind project

Kainai First Nation hopes to see financial benefit from wind project
The Kainai First Nation is paying for 25 per cent of the cost of development of a wind project near Medicine Hat, which is estimated to cost about $75 million, but it's an investment members believe can be fruitful.

Dignitaries and stakeholders met in Lethbridge on Tuesday to celebrate the announcement of five new wind projects coming to southern Alberta.

READ MORE: Vital Signs report shows significance of wind power southwest Alberta

The wind farms, which are slated to be fully operational by mid-2021, were highly coveted by companies in the energy sector.

“The process to move forward with the project is very competitive,” said Cory Basil, EDF Renewable Energy’s vice-president of development. “The pricing was some of the lowest pricing we’ve seen. Certainly in Canada, and probably North America.”

The provincial government says a $1.2-billion renewable energy project will create close to 1,000 jobs and generate enough electricity to power nearly 300,000 homes.

“We take the pollution out of our electricity and we know that there is an ability to create jobs,” Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said. “We can create good, stable revenue sources for both landowners, farmers and rural municipalities.”

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The Kainai First Nation is paying for 25 per cent of the cost of developing their project near Medicine Hat — estimated at about $75 million — but it’s an investment they believe can be fruitful.

“There will be sort of a return on investment — maybe somewhere in the four per cent return on investment,” said Clayton Blood , the general manager of Kainai Resources Inc. “[Those are] some of the preliminary projections, but it’s to give us some idea that it’s worthwhile.”

Blood says it’s not known right now how many jobs will be created for the Kainai First Nation, but tribe members are already training to work on the construction and maintenance of the wind turbines.

The belief is this project could be just be the beginning.

“We’re looking to try and see if the Alberta government will carve out some of this demand for alternative energy and award it to us just like any developer,” Blood said. “That’s what we’re looking at, is putting a wind farm in our community.”

READ MORE: ‘Oil and gas used to be our bread and butter’: Energy workers look to wind turbines for new careers

The other wind projects are going southwest of Fort Macleod, near Lethbridge and in the Brooks area, which will have two.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2020.