Natural Gas Power Plant Proposal for Six Nations

Powerful questions

January 24, 2008

The project is so enormous that, at first, we thought it must be a hoax. An $800-million electricity plant powered by natural gas is proposed in south Brantford.

It is not an early April Fool's joke. The proposal to build on Six Nations-owned land opposite the Brantford landfill site has credible backers, including local developer Steve Charest of King and Benton and an American power company called GenPower.

The plant would burn natural gas to generate 800 megawatts of electricity, about 20 per cent of the capacity of the Nanticoke coal-fired station near Port Dover.

Ontario needs clean, efficient sources of power to replace Nanticoke and to guarantee power for the future.

But a super-project on the Eagle's Nest tract raises many questions. Will such large consumption of natural gas put a strain on supply for home heating and other uses?

How will the plant connect to provincial transmission lines? What impact, if any, will the plant have on air and water in the area? Will it bring more truck traffic to Eagle Place?

Most of all, we wonder if Six Nations government has the expertise to oversee such a massive project effectively.

The Eagle's Nest tract is native land. The province and city of Brantford have no authority. Normal environmental and planning rules do not apply.

Six Nations has never dealt with such a large project. The elected band council and the traditional Confederacy will have to agree on a multitude of business and planning issues.

The project has the potential to supply clean, reliable electricity for Six Nations and Ontario as well as a steady income for the reserve and jobs for natives.

A successful project will demand the co-operation of Six Nations, Brantford and Ontario.


It's a tall order.

Construction of the Nanticoke generating station and a nearby steel plant and oil refinery caused Ontario to unite Haldimand and Norfolk counties into one municipality in 1974 to deal with expected growth. Can Six Nations cope with its own mini-Nanticoke?


Don't judge proposal in ignorance

January 29, 2008

Monster, you say? Everyone perceived Shrek as a monster too until they got to know him. Be assured that you will get the opportunity to know the Eagles Nest Power Plant as we plan for community consultations targeted at Six Nations and the wider Brantford area in the near future.

As a proponent from Six Nations of a project that will have provincewide impact within Ontario and nationwide impact for First Nations across Turtle Island, I found Susan Gamble's Jan. 24 article to be even-handed and respectful of the protocols that are an essential part of making this project a reality. I was less enthusiastic about the accompanying editorial that raised some basic questions and left us all with the central notion of whether or not Six Nations is capable of implementing such a project or can be entrusted with its long-term operation.

Answers to many of the technical questions can be found on our website at, including information related to the ongoing supply of natural gas and the environmental impacts that will be far less than those from Nanticoke which we currently live amongst. Regarding connection to transmission lines, a report verifies that the Eagles Nest Power Plant meshes extremely well with the existing grid and can be executed without the need for the extensive upgrades that hinder the economic viability of other projects. Please know that we are committed to updating this website on a regular basis so that it can accurately and transparently inform the world of our progressions and provide answers to questions in a timely manner.

In order to address the central notion, I would like to pose some questions of my own. What other power plant in the province has committed to building a greenhouse as an integral part of its development? What other power plant proposes to recycle wastewater to cool its process equipment? What other power plant has ensured sustained revenue streams to its community partners to such an equitable degree? What other power plant has committed to the establishment of a specific trust fund aimed at cultural retention? What other power plant has committed to maximizing the participation of local forces?

Rather than question Six Nation's ability to deliver, I believe that when the benefits are weighed against the concerns and compared against other projects, most people may just come away thankful for our involvement.

Our impact benefits illustrate the potential that exists when Seventh Generation planning principles form the foundation for capital projects.

When solutions are proposed that are locally controlled and are inclusive of all sectors of our diverse community, we surpass an independent process to achieve one that is truly "interdependent" whereby all of our society can advance.

And this would not be the end for this project. We will continue to strive so that the Eagles Nest Power Plant can deliver its full potential.

In the foreseeable future, we expect that the facility will provide tempered water for not only the greenhouse but for district heating systems as well.

Through its realization, the development will become a destination attraction in its own right and complement the rich cultural heritage that we all possess throughout Grand River Country.

Brian Porter, co-director


Consider wisest use of gas resource

January 29, 2008

In response to the letter of Mr. Cleland, of the Canadian Gas Association (CGA), printed on Jan. 27, 2008, I humbly submit the following comments to his statements.

"80 years of supply." The National Energy Board data suggests there are 74 years of supply remaining in Canada. The CGA's own website indicates given the current rate of consumption, proven "reserves" will be depleted in 10 years.

"vast resources ... feasible to develop." Yes there are vast resources in the McKenzie Delta and land claims are mostly resolved to allow construction to start. This won't happen, though, until the price of gas warrants the expenditure. In other words, perceived shortages are needed to drive the price up.

"draw on world reserves." Yes, Canada is home to, I believe, eight or more LNG terminals which are put in place primarily to serve the U.S. market. Post 9-11, there is no way these terminals could be built within the U.S.A., especially in the northeast, where pipelines from Canada will deliver gas. Interestingly, this gas often comes from foreign jurisdictions, which don't share North American social values or political views. One hopes, business will remain business.

Yes, natural gas has certain positive attributes. I heat my own house with it. Strategically, however, the design of large centralized power plants, (let's face it, 800 MW is not small) affords designers the opportunity to implement alternative processes with accompanying emission mitigation measures. Gasification of biomass either from renewable farm waste or municipal garbage, maybe with support firing from natural gas, is but one alternative to wholesale burning of a natural resource which is indeed finite. Interestingly, within the U.S.A., clean coal plants are being built, one by a partner in the Brantford proposal.

There is a "let's build a gas-fired generating station" mania developing out there in response to the Ontario Power Authority Integrated Supply Plan which is now out for comment and which again proposes closing all coal plants in a hurry. Portlands in Toronto, Halton Hills, Brantford/Mohawk Institute and Jarvis/Haldimand are but four nearby stations with which I am familiar that have jumped on the bandwagon or would like to.

I have focused my comments on the fuel issue only. I urge us all to think carefully. On Jan. 25, at 6 p.m., the wholesale price of electricity in Ontario was $0.0439/kwh. Natural gas will cost more per kwh. Natural gas prices are based simply on supply and demand. What is the wisest use of this resource?

W. Barry Hill



Build noisy beasts in remote areas

January 29, 2008

Brantford citizens should consider that an 800-megawatt gas turbine power station is about 10 times more power capacity than the city itself needs. Most of the excess power will have to be transmitted out of the city through a huge power line. Who wants that in their backyard?

Brantford citizens should also consider that gas turbines even when equipped with state of the art sound-muffling equipment are noisy. Gas turbines are in essence very large jet engines with additional turbine discs attached. A jumbo jet has four engines that on takeoff produces about 65 MW each (actually 58,000 ft lbs of trust). Just imagine the noise of four jumbo jets taking off simultaneously round the clock 24-7 and you got the picture.

There is no question Ontario needs new power generating capacity desperately. Subsequent mismanagement by political appointees from all three political parties to the chair of Ontario Hydro, with investments in rain forests instead of power plants, has left the utility in a financial mess that not even fancy accounting footwork can disguise.

Ontario needs several new nuclear power station to provide the province with its future energy needs. To meet clean air targets, meanwhile, existing coal-fired plants need to be kept in service and fitted with clean coal technology and kept running until new nuclear stations can be commissioned 10-15 years from now. In the meantime, gas turbines, expensive to operate as they are, are the only quick-fix option to avoid severe power shortage, but build these noisy beasts in remote areas, not in densely populated centres and not in Brantford please.

Ulf Svensson





Editorial borders on racism

January 30, 2008

When I read the editorial "Powerful questions," Jan. 24, I was not only offended but also angry at the editorial writer for having such a low opinion of the Six Nations government.

As far as I'm concerned, this editorial borders on the edge of racism. The concern expressed isn't so much about the power plant as it is about Six Nations' involvement.

"Most of all, we wonder if Six Nations government has the expertise to oversee such a massive project effectively," the writer says.

The seeds planted in the minds of the reader is that, well, we need to be concerned because those Indians down on "The Rez" might not have the smarts.

What makes me angry is that this issue was raised at all. Would the same editorial have been written if it was Brantford or Brant County councils? I don't think so.

Despite what the writer may think, the Six Nations elected councillors are not imbeciles. Of course, we know we don't have the expertise to evaluate, oversee and monitor such a massive project. But we do know Six Nations has people with the necessary expertise and knowledge.

The editorial also raises the issue that "normal environmental and planning rules don't apply" to Six Nations land. That's right. But that doesn't mean council would let Guswenta Developments off the hook. At the very least and in the absence of Six Nations' laws, I'm confident council would put a mechanism in place to ensure that all federal, provincial, and municipal environmental laws and regulations are followed.

Finally, in saying that "Six Nations has never dealt with such a large project" the writer is forgetting that Six Nations ironworkers not only built but supervised and general managed the majority of prominent buildings in Canada and the U.S. and even in the Bahamas, including power generating plants. In fact, elected chief Bill Montour is one of them.

My brother-in-law Dave Miller is another. W. Barry Hill who was quoted in the story "Massive power plant proposed" spent his life working with power generation plants and the list goes on.

The Expositor may not have faith in the ability of the Six Nations' people but there's no doubt in my mind if council and the community decides to partner with this project, Six Nations would have no problem overseeing such a massive project.

Helen Miller

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