Case Study
2 min read

Environmental assessments for Henvey Inlet First Nation wind project

Informing the development of a 300-megawatt wind farm, the largest First Nation wind partnership project in Canada

The Henvey Inlet wind project is an 87-turbine wind farm and transmission line in the Lake Huron region of Canada that will generate clean energy for 100,000 homes across Ontario each year. We completed environmental assessments regarding the potential social and environmental impacts and mitigation measures for the first renewable energy project developed under the First Nations Lands Management Act, which allows certain Indigenous groups to develop their own laws about land use and the environment.

Around 15 percent of our project workforce were from the Indigenous communities and had expertise on the local land and species at risk. Our role included obtaining environmental permits and required approvals from bodies including Environment Canada, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Environmental Commissioner. We also planned, coordinated and implemented an environmental management system (EMS) and performed environmental construction monitoring to help minimize harm to species at risk. Informed by EMS data, we were able to identify trends, plan corrective actions and forecast future challenges, reducing costs and accelerating compliance efforts. An automated compliance calendar also allowed us to minimize interruptions.

A key component of the project is a 104-kilometer transmission line delivering energy to the Ontario electricity grid in Parry Sound. This traverses provincial lands and territory belonging to the Shawanaga, Magnetwawan and Henvey Inlet First Nations, covered by the Robinson Huron treaty which governs rights and access to the land. Our First Nation Community Liaison provided support to the First Nations staff, easing cultural challenges. At project completion, many Indigenous staff either returned to school or moved on to similar projects.

Services
  • Environmental justice
  • Renewable energy planning and development services