Samsung deal could inject millions into Six Nations economy
Wind turbines are shown at the opening of a 44-turbine wind farm near Port Alma, Ont., on Thursday, November 13, 2008.
A potential partnership between Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation and Korean electronics giant Samsung is being hailed as a possible game-changer for the economy of Six Nations.
The partnership would be responsible for a 400,000-panel solar farm as well as 67 wind turbines, with manufacturing operations to take place in Six Nations.
“It really is a monumental achievement that we’ve gotten as far as we have with this program,” Six Nations economic development director Matt Jamieson tells CTV News.
Samsung’s Ontario operations were slashed earlier this week when the province cut its planned purchase of green electricity from Samsung by $3.7 billion.
Samsung’s commitment to spend on new wind and solar projects in the province was also cut as a result, but Jamieson says none of that affects negotiations between the company and Six Nations.
Since the Green Energy Act came into force in 2008, Jamieson says, Six Nations has been at the forefront of adopting wind and solar technologies.
“It really is a monumental achievement that we’ve gotten as far as we have with this program,” he says.
Jamieson says he remains a fan of green energy despite its price tag.
“If you look at the rates in isolation of everything else … it may appear that the rates are high,” he says.
“But if you look at the macro impact of energy production, renewable energy actually has a net positive impact on the environment.”
In addition to the environmental benefits, green energy projects are seen as a way for First Nations to make it clear that they’re open for business.
“There’s this misconception that First Nations generally, and Six Nations specifically, aren’t open to development, aren’t open to partnership and aren’t open to economic opportunity,” says Jamieson.
“This is proof that we will engage in business on the right terms, provided the business or enterprise is aligned with our cultural values.”
Ironworker Darryl Hill says the project, which could pump millions of dollars into the Six Nations economy, will hopefully help in turn with the community’s housing shortage and high unemployment rate, especially among youth.
“We’re hoping our young people will pick up the tools,” he says.
Jamieson and other Six Nations representatives are flying to Korea this weekend for meetings with Samsung to determine the specifics of the new partnership.
Any proposals coming out of those meetings would still have to be approved by the Six Nations band council.