Wind power start-up hoping to connect with municipalities and First Nations in northwestern Ontario
New resident to the Rainy River district, Christopher Kuntz, is hoping to pursue his passion for renewable energy in his new home, to expand the green energy infrastructure locally, using his expertise as a seasoned mining and energy consultant.
In Levack, Ont., Kuntz was raised in a nickel mining town which he said grew his understanding about the mining industry. Kuntz decided to take this knowledge and apply it to his career path as a consultant after completing his theology degree at the University of Waterloo.
While working in mining camps all across British Columbia, Yukon and Alaska, Kuntz said he was known as the person always pushing the companies to be more environmentally progressive.
“I always was able to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘okay, jobs and money and mining are important but being a good steward for the environment is equally important,’” said Kuntz. “And, you know, I never lost a job over it I was always able to present it in such a way that we got the budget and we could do the work.”
In 2000, Kuntz grew tired of living in remote camps and decided to pursue his dream of working within the renewable power industry. He said he regularly thought about his travels to Europe in his youth and was exposed to the numerous wind turbines and solar panels there.
“Ten or 20 years before I ever saw them in Canada,” said Kuntz. “I always said to myself, ‘you know, if the Germans can do it, we can do it, too.’”
At this time, he joined the non-profit association called Ontario Sustainable Energy Association to advocate for sustainable energy. For two years from 2007 to 2009, Kuntz landed his first corporate job in the energy business with Brookfield Renewable.
After, Kuntz began consulting for a company called Senvion in from 2009 to 2012. After 2012, he continued his career as a sales consultant in the mining and energy industries.
During a visit to Minnesota, Kuntz visited Rainy River and he said it felt like home. He moved in September of 2020.
“Because I’m now living in the northwest of Ontario, I would like very much to see the facilities built near where I live,” said Kuntz. “I’ve always wanted that. You’ve got the land, you’ve got the resources, you’ve got the grid. The real challenge is finding the willpower and finding a group of people or a group of companies, who are like minded and willing to say yeah, let’s do this.”
With his knowledge of the industry, Kuntz said he has numerous investors and manufacturers lined up. He just needs a willing landowner, whether that be a forestry company, mining company, farmer or First Nations community.
Kuntz said in the example of solely land-leasing a 100 acres of land, there can be two wind turbines on this size of acreage. Each unit provides $10,000 per year in land-lease revenue, totalling $20,000. Kuntz said each turbine will take up approximately half an acre each in infrastructure and roads which can leave, in this example, 99 acres of usable land for potential farming.
Contracts can also include ownership and be made as part of the deal. According to Kuntz, there is no up front costs other than owning usable land and he will work with people to ensure all deals will work for them.
“Can’t build anything, if you don’t have plans and if you don’t have a vision,” said Kuntz. “So, 20 years ago my planning and my vision was to build wind farms and I did it. And now here I am 20 years later helping other people to do the same thing, mostly because I understand the business. And I think it’s important.”
To get more information, you can contact Kuntz at (416) 705-8484 and visit his energy consulting website at www.canwindpower.ca.