Remainder of Wataynikaneyap transmission line approved
The Ontario Energy Board released its decision and order EB-2018-0190 April 1 giving leave to construct the rest of the $1.6 billion Wataynikaneyap transmission project, connecting seventeen remote First Nation communities in northern Ontario to the provincial grid.
As summarized in the local paper Dryden Now, with the second phase now approved, crews are set to install over 1,600 kilometres of an electrical transmission line to connect communities north of Red Lake and Pickle Lake, with community connections starting in 2021, and all communities connected by the end of 2023. Work is set to begin this year. The line will replace diesel-powered generation, with its cost and environmentally harmful fuel spills.
“The OEB’s approval authorizes Wataynikaneyap Power to construct and operate the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project and deliver upon our commitment to bring reliable, sustainable and clean power to our First Nations communities in Northern Ontario,” said Margaret Kenequanash, CEO of Wataynikaneyap Power. “We successfully connected Pikangikum to the provincial energy grid in December 2018 and are looking forward to connecting the rest of the First Nation communities who still rely on expensive, environmentally-unfriendly diesel generators for power.” Pikangikum was hit with a severe forest fire in late May with a full-scale evacuation of the population beginning on May 31.
Wataynikaneyap Power is now focused on the next significant steps in the Project’s development before construction, including Environmental Assessment approvals, choosing an Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) proponent(s) for Phase 1 & 2 of the Project, and finalizing financing.
As reported in the February issue of IPPSO FACTO, the first part of the project, a line connecting Pikangikum First Nation, was completed in December of last year.