The Manouane Sipi Project Will Finally Get Underway
On February 15 2019, an agreement for the purchase of electricity was signed with Hydro-Québec, thereby confirming the start of construction of the micro-hydro power plant, which will generate major economic spin-offs for the community of Wemotaci.
The Conseil des Atikamekw de Wemotaci and the city of La Tuque have been working since 2009 on this construction project for a micro-hydro power plant of 22 megawatts on Manouane River. This project was one of the 13 projects retained out of the 31 projects that had been submitted at the time. In 2013, when the PQ government was elected, the project had been abandoned, but it came back on the table in 2014, when the Quebec Liberal Party took power. Since then, several studies have been conducted to relaunch the project, and a new partner, Kruger Énergie inc., joined the two partners. On February 15 2019, the electricity purchase contract was signed with Hydro-Québec. 2019 will be a more « technical » year, because various studies have been conducted, but it is expected that by 2020, the construction should have begun. The micro-hydro power plant is scheduled to start operating in 2024.
Substantial Spin-offs for the Atikamekw Community
The project consists of a 40-year contract. From the first year up until the 19th year, the project should bring in revenues of 250 000 $ to 500 000 $ annually to each of its partners. Between the 20th year and the last, spin-offs should amount to 1,5 M$ each year. The execution of the Manouane Sipi project will be a stepping stone for a complete change in the economy of the community, while improving services provided to its people. Effectively, taking advantage of the context of construction works, new services will be developed and others will be improved, for example, the gasoline tanks of the service station need to be changed. It will be an opportunity for the community to install tanks with a greater capacity, which will be beneficial for its members, while at the same time providing gas for the machinery being used on the construction site. Opportunities for business creation, which will be available to both private entrepreneurs and the Band Council, will also flow from this project. As a matter of fact, the Nikanik Corporation is currently considering the possibility of building a country inn in Wemotaci; such a facility would lodge both, construction workers and visitors. The Atikamekw community is therefore hoping to maximize as much as possible the spin-off developments of this project to create jobs for its people. And finally, the spin-offs of Manouane Sipi will also be reinvested in services to the population.
Further information on the community and the “Conseil des Atikamekw de Wemotaci” can be found at wemotaci.com.
Photo: Ville de La Tuque