Indigenous Lawyer Cherie Brant Helps Shawanaga First Nation with their Renewable Energy Goals

January 8, 2016
It was recently announced that Shawanaga First Nation, an Indigenous community located in central Ontario, and Strathcona Energy Group (SEG), a Canadian-based holding company specializing in vertically integrated solutions for the next generation of photovoltaics, have entered into a renewable energy investment partnership. This partnership will be facilitated by Dickinson Wright Lawyer Cherie Brant in Toronto.

“The partnership between Shawanaga First Nation and Strathcona Energy Group is a perfect example of how the Feed-in-Tariff project can work to create economic prosperity and sustainability for First Nations while helping Ontario reach its renewable energy goals,” says Cherie Brant. “I’m thrilled that Dickinson Wright could be a part of this project and help facilitate this on-going, fruitful partnership.”

In 2008, Ontario introduced its 20 year Integrated Power System Plan and the Shawanaga First Nation sought to explore how they could participate and address long-term economic prosperity for its community. Shawanaga hired Adam Good as band manager to carry out project development and assist the community to put in place its Crown consultation protocols. Mr. Good, in turn, hired Ms. Brant to navigate the program opportunities and facilitate the relationship building for Shawanaga.

Since then the Shawanaga First Nation, along with SEG and Blackstone Energy Solutions, have successfully established investment strategies for 13 rooftop photovoltaics projects totaling 1.8 Megawatts, which are producing enough clean energy to power approximately 200 homes. The generated power from the high-yielding arrays is sold to Ontario’s IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) under a 20-year Feed-in-Tariff contract.

Currently, the partnership is working together on a second, much larger round of investment projects, which will add an additional 2.7 Megawatts. As for the previous projects, SEG will be an investment partner as well as taking on EPC responsibilities of the projects to ensure maximum profitability. The equity participation in a combined 4.5 Megawatts of solar projects provides Shawanaga First Nation with a base of clean energy investment.

Ms. Brant is a Partner in Dickinson Wright’s Toronto office. She has a commercial real estate, renewable energy and Indigenous law practice. Ms. Brant provides strategic counsel to several First Nations, including the Shawanaga First Nation, and industry clients seeking to develop projects with First Nations and to understand and address Indigenous rights and interests. As a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and with family from Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Ms. Brant brings a profound understanding of the opportunities and challenges that both Indigenous people and industry proponents face in carrying out resource, infrastructure and economic development in Canada. She is recognized for her work as one of Lexpert’s Leading Lawyers for Aboriginal Law and Energy Law. She is a member of the Ontario Bar Association and the Law Society of Upper Canada. Ms. Brant received her B.A. from the University of Waterloo and her J.D. from the University of Toronto.
  • |