TROIS-RIVIÈRES, QUE. — Hydro-Quebec has announced a plan to build a forest biomass cogeneration plant to supply the Opitciwan community with off-grid power.
The partners in the deal are the Societe en commandite Onimiskiw Opitciwan and the Conseil des Atikamekw d’Opitciwan.
The system will be the first of its kind in an Indigenous community in Quebec, stated a release.
With an installed capacity of 4.8 megawatts, the plant is scheduled for commissioning in July 2026. The 25-year agreement, which has the option of a 15-year extension, also involves the acquisition and installation of a dryer at the Opitciwan sawmill.
The overall cost of the project is estimated at $60.2 million, with provincial and federal government contributions required along with investments from the Indigenous proponents.
Forty workers will be hired for the construction phase, with about 15 permanent jobs to be created once the facility is commissioned.
Diesel consumption in the community is expected to decrease by 85 per cent. The biomass will be sourced from forestry resources.
“The forest biomass cogeneration plant project holds great promise for our community and meets our essential electricity supply needs,” stated Jean-Claude Mequish, chief of the Conseil des Atikamekw d’Opitciwan, in a release. ‘Not only does it tick every box in terms of social acceptability, sustainability and technical viability, but it will also spur social and economic development.”
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