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Manitoba Hydro’s Wuskwatim Project Wins CEA Environmental Stewardship Award

by NationTalk on February 8, 20081167 Views

WINNIPEG, Feb. 8 – Manitoba Hydro’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability and First Nations engagement was recognized nationally today by the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA). CEA President and CEO Hans Konow, presented Manitoba Hydro President and CEO Bob Brennan with the Association’s Environmental Stewardship Award in recognition of the utility’s partnership with the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) to reduce environmental impacts on the Wuskwatim Project. “The Wuskwatim Generating Station Project marks the first time an electric utility and a First Nation have entered into such a comprehensive partnership to develop a generating station with a particular focus on preserving our natural environment,” said Mr. Konow. “Utility and First Nation partnering is an innovative concept to new hydroelectric generation projects which may serve as a model for future resource development not only within Manitoba, but throughout Canada and around the world. CEA is proud to honour an approach that responsibly addresses social, economic and environmental issues”.

The Wuskwatim Generating Station brought Manitoba Hydro and NCN into a close partnership. Both partners filled an essential role in the project planning process and these roles will continue throughout the construction and operation phases. Manitoba Hydro’s vision was to construct a new generating station in an environmentally sensitive and socially conscientious manner. NCN approached the project with the purpose of maintaining the traditional use of the land while providing the community with the economic benefits of being a partner in the development and operation of a hydroelectric generating station.

Manitoba Hydro has ensured the incorporation of NCN’s traditional knowledge – Ethinesewin – into Wuskwatim project planning and development in order to limit adverse environmental impacts and remain accountable and transparent to NCN. From the beginning of the project, consultation was an essential part of the planning used to select the station design, while Ethinesewin was used to identify locations for the construction camps, access roads and transmission lines. In the end, Ethinesewin together with economic analysis and logistical implications were used by the partnership to collectively determine the most appropriate project configuration that would provide both environmental sustainability and economic benefits.

CEA’s Environmental Stewardship Award is an integral part of the Association’s Environmental, Commitment and Responsibility (ECR) Program. Based on specific criteria and principles, a third party adjucation panel recognizes the year’s top electricity industry initiative that tangibly demonstrates environmental leadership and innovation. Manitoba Hydro’s Wuskwatim project was chosen because it:

– Shows significant impact reduction;
– Has implications for the industry as a whole;
– Demonstrates innovation; and
– Focuses on partnerships and engages First Nations.

Founded in 1891, CEA is the national association of the Canadian electricity industry. Its members ensure reliable electricity service to Canadians from coast to coast.

For further information: Additional information and photos are available by contacting: Francis Bradley, Vice President, CEA, (613) 230-5027, Mobile: (514) 945-0532, bradley@canelect.ca; Brigitte Hébert, Senior Advisor, Communications and Human Resources, (514) 697-3626, Mobile: (514) 241-5327, hebert@canelect.ca

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