Cenovus announces plan to buy renewable power from First Nations partnership
Cenovus Energy Inc. has entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy solar-power produced electricity and the associated emissions offsets from a partnership between Cold Lake First Nations (CLFN) and Elemental Energy Inc., helping Cenovus advance two of its environmental, social & governance (ESG) focus areas by addressing climate & greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as further supporting Indigenous reconciliation through economic engagement.
The southern Alberta project will add 150 megawatts of renewable energy to the province's electricity grid once completed and is expected to begin producing electricity in 2023. Cenovus has signed a 15-year PPA for the full output of the facility, providing the offtake contract necessary for the construction of the project and ultimately helping Cenovus mitigate its scope 2 emissions. Scope 2 emissions are those represented by purchased or acquired electricity, steam, heat and/or cooling. In Cenovus's case, these emissions primarily result from purchased electricity.
"Through this agreement we're reinforcing our commitment to using multiple levers and innovative approaches to help us in our long-term ambition of achieving net zero emissions by 2050," said Alex Pourbaix, Cenovus President & Chief Executive Officer. "This is also an excellent opportunity to further build on our long-standing relationship with Cold Lake First Nations in its partnership with Elemental."
CLFN, part of the Denesųłiné Nation with 3,000 members and reserve lands around Cold Lake and Primrose Lake near some of Cenovus's oil sands projects in northern Alberta, has been a long-time supplier of services at Cenovus's projects. Vancouver-based Elemental Energy is a privately held developer, investor and operator of renewable energy projects, including two existing solar facilities in Alberta.
"Cold Lake First Nations is excited to partner with Elemental Energy and Cenovus on this important project. As stewards of the land, our Nation fully supports sustainable renewable energy development respecting environmental, economic, cultural and social contexts, while realizing long-term economic benefits through an ownership stake in the project," said Cold Lake First Nations Chief Roger Marten. "The project exemplifies the relationships we've built with our partners and creates an innovative path for economic reconciliation."
"This project represents a milestone for Elemental by building on our track record of Indigenous partnerships and working with corporations to build large scale projects that advance Canada's renewable energy economy," said Jamie Houssian, Principal, Elemental Energy. "We are excited to demonstrate the power of collaboration with Cenovus, Cold Lake First Nations, and Elemental coming together to create a project that unites both purpose and profit."
In addition to climate & GHG emissions and Indigenous reconciliation, Cenovus has also identified water stewardship, biodiversity and inclusion & diversity as its other significant ESG focus areas. The company anticipates it will release its comprehensive 2020 ESG report in the fourth quarter of 2021, which will include new ESG targets for each focus area, as well as pro forma metrics for the combined company to reflect Cenovus's acquisition of Husky Energy on January 1, 2021.