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THUNDER BAY, ON: Matawa First Nations Management are attending the annual Prospectors Developers Association of Canada’s International Convention this week to promote concepts around energy generation, storage and supply for the mining sector.

They expect the discussion to evolve later this month when the Matawa First Nations host the 2nd Annual ‘Power to the People’ Energy Conference to be held in Toronto, Ontario on March 20 – 21, 2018 at the Chelsea Hotel. The conference follows the first that was held in Thunder Bay, Ontario on May 2 – 3, 2016 which concluded with the establishment of a Matawa Energy Planning Committee made up of representatives of the 9 Matawa First Nations.

Earlier in the year, Matawa embarked on a sponsorship campaign to raise funds for this event and are continuing to seek sponsorships. The theme of the conference is: ‘A New Approach to the Social License’ and will include invited guests from the Matawa First Nations, government and industry.

Some of the areas of focus will include renewables with respect to Indigenous communities and long-term sustainable development. The conference will also include panels and presentations from government agencies such as the Ministry of Energy and the IESO, and other energy agencies such as Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation. Amongst the many areas of discussion will be distribution, generation, education/capacity building, renewable energy readiness and long-term energy planning. Other panels and presentations will focus on financing and insurance, transmission, and women in energy.

The conference expects to make linkages between their Renewable Energy Readiness Assessment (RERA) Project announced on December 18, 2017 and the Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities Program announced on February 16, 2018 by the government of Canada to reduce reliance on diesel fuel in rural and remote communities. The RERA, expected to be completed this spring, will explore the renewable energy production approach forward to address high fuel prices, get of diesel, prioritize planning with industry and establish sustainable community energy loads that integrate renewable energy into the landscape and allow each community to benefit.

The conference will conclude with a tour of the IESO Control Room for Matawa delegates and a formal dinner. PDAC 2018 participants are encouraged to visit Matawa’s booth 750 to learn more.

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