Eabametoong First Nation has signed an agreement with UMA Engineering Ltd. to launch a study for the development of a new power supply system for the northwestern Ontario community.
Officials hope the study will find alternatives to the community's current power station, which relies on three diesel generators that have been in use since 1972.
The current system is the case of several concerns, including the high price of fuel and maintenance. Fort Hope residents pay about four times the amount Thunder Bay residents pay for electricity. Also, a continuously running diesel generator needs to be completely rebuilt after five to eight years. Other systems, like power transmission lines, don't need the regular maintenance. Environmental concerns also surround diesel generators.
Several alternatives will be examined as part of the study, including connecting to the Hydro One grid, or regional developments such as small hydroelectric dams.
Eabametoong already has its own power company, which may be expanded as the new system falls into place.
The study will cost about $150,000 and will take about six months to undertake. It is being funded by Industry Canada/FedNor, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and the Eabametoong First Nation.