Socio-Economic Procurement in Electrical Utilities

November 25, 2019

This is one of a series of articles, based on a report commissioned by the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP).

In addition to the construction phase of utilities infrastructure, the ongoing operations require staff and suppliers, so local training, hiring, and procurement have been part of these contracts for some time. Local ownership of part of the revenue or profit stream is also often a feature of energy projects.

The newly operational North Kent Wind facility near Chatham, Ontario employed approximately 175 skilled construction workers, all from Ontario with the majority from the local area. The facility employs ten permanent staff, plus several local contractors, for operations and maintenance. Samsung and Pattern Development, who developed and built the project, are contributing $4 million to the Municipality of Chatham-Kent as a community benefit, to be used at Council’s discretion. The Municipality and Bkejwanong First Nation each hold a 15 per cent equity interest in North Kent Wind.

The CCPPP gave the Fort McMurray West 500-Kv Transmission Project a gold award in 2018. The socio-economic benefits of this P3 project included Indigenous contracting and equity ownership. APL, the developer, awarded $85 million in contracts to Indigenous communities and Indigenous contractors. These contracts helped create jobs and opportunities for skills training and contributed to local economic development.

The Hydro Northern Training Initiative in Manitoba was a $60.3 million, multi-year initiative (2001-2010) to train more than 1,000 northern Indigenous residents for 800 hydro construction and related employment opportunities. This provided the knowledge and skills for planned construction projects throughout Manitoba. Leveraging hydroelectric projects for long-term community development also supported the development of northern businesses and community ventures. By the end of 2010: 2,670 people participated in this initiative; 1,876 completed one or more training courses; and 1,395 found employment.