The Whapmagoostui Kuujjuaraapik Hybrid Power Plant Project (WKHPPP) was initiated back in 2011 by the Cree First Nation of Whapmagoostui. A feasibility study was carried out in 2012 with the contributions of the federal and provincial, governments as well as Guodian UPC (a utility state-owned Chinese corporation, which withdrew from the project in 2013). Different sources of renewable energy were studied to replace the current diesel power plant such as biomass, solar and wind. Two interventions were made before the Quebec Energy Board (QEB) in 2014 and 2017 to incite Hydro Quebec Distribution (HQD) to consider entering into a power purchase agreement with the promoter of the project. Given the very special situation of Whapmagoostui and Kuujjuaraapik, being the only of its kind in Canada, dually composed of an Eeyou and Inuit community, the QEB recommended to HQD, in a ruling rendered in December 2017, to work in collaboration with both communities to develop a suitable project for all parties concerned. A joint Eeyou-Inuit Steering Committee was set up in February 2019, which activities lead to the incorporation, in June 2020, of the Kuujjuaraapik Whapmagoostui Renewable Energy Corporation (KWREC), owned equally between Whapmagoostui Eeyou’s and Kuujjuaraapik Inuit’s interest, as the sole developer of WKHPPP. The WKHPPP is presently limited to its wind power generation component. However, in coming years, KWREC and HQD may study other sources of renewable energy and eventually agree on the full replacement of the fossil fuel generation facility and keep it only as emergency back-up.
It is an honour and privilege to address you all as President of Kuujjuaraapik-Whapmagoostui Renewable Energy Corporation (KWREC). The KWREC represents our Cree-Inuit partnership in the development, construction, ownership and maintenance of the Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuaraapik Hybrid Power Plant (WKHPPP), a renewable energy component to Hydro-Quebec Distribution (HQD)’s diesel power plant that currently serves our community.
Our community, Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuaraapik, is a unique community located on the east coast of Hudson Bay in northern Quebec in which the Inuit and the Crees have lived together since time immemorial. Like most isolated Indigenous communities in Canada, our community has long been faced with lack of sustainable economic and employment opportunities for our people. But our leadership has nevertheless continued to seek means to promote economic development despite the lack of active industrial or resource development activity in our traditional territories. Our community’s isolation makes it that much more difficult to attain local economic autonomy.
Since 2011, the WHKPPP was developed with the participation of the Inuit of Kuujjuaraapik through the Sakkuq Landholding Corporation. The project was pursued primarily to create economic and job opportunities for the members of our twin communities and, secondly, to help reduce the global emissions of CO2 greenhouse gases that adversely affect our respective land-based cultures.
We are currently developing a wind project, but other renewable energy sources will also be considered with a view to limit and eventually move away from our current dependency on fossil fuel. With the support of Hydro-Quebec Distribution, the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada, the WKHPPP will put our community on Quebec’s political map as a leader in renewable energy development in the North, setting as example for other Indigenous communities across Canada to follow our footsteps on the trail to a better economic future.
Whapmagoostui China Trade Mission