The East-West Tie Transmission Line Project is now in service, providing reliable, long-term electricity to Ontario’s Northwest. The 450-kilometre, 230-kilovolt transmission line runs from Wawa to Thunder Bay, Ont.

“This is a momentous day for the people of Ontario and NextBridge is proud to have brought our expertise and resources to the region to make it a reality,” said project director Jennifer Tidmarsh. “Despite numerous external challenges during construction, including a global pandemic and historic forest fire activity in the region, the NextBridge joint venture partners have fulfilled a commitment to the people of Ontario and the East-West Tie to deliver electricity that will power growth in the Northwest.”

Built by NextBridge, a partnership of NextEra Energy Canada, Enbridge and OMERS infrastructure, the East-West Tie line addresses long-standing constraints that restricted the flow of electricity between Northwestern Ontario and the south. The project featured strong participation from a number of local Indigenous communities.

“Years of collaboration with Indigenous communities, countless stakeholders and right-of-way communities from Thunder Bay to Wawa were required to get us here today,” said Tidmarsh.

“Our government is powering growth across the Northwest with the activation of the East-West Tie. With this new transmission line, we are delivering affordable and reliable electricity while providing the flexibility to develop other northern industries, including critical mineral development, that will support our growing EV and EV battery manufacturing sectors,” said Ontario Minister of Energy Todd Smith.

A partnership with Bamkushwada, a group comprised of the most proximate Indigenous communities, saw the creation of Supercom Industries, a 100% Indigenous-owned partnership responsible for project hiring and procurement. More than 200 Indigenous workers received training and lndigenous monitors were deployed to ensure Aboriginal and Treaty rights were respected during project construction.

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“Now that it’s come into service, the East West Tie Line will support a new era of economic growth and opportunity for the region. This is good news for families and businesses in Northern Ontario and I applaud the Government of Ontario and the project partners for their bold action in bringing this project to fruition with a focus on Indigenous inclusion and participation,” said Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins.

Project Facts:

  • Double-circuit, 230-kilovolt transmission line
  • Approximately 450 kilometres in length
  • Connected to three Transformer Stations – Lakehead (Shuniah), Marathon and Wawa
  • Provides total transfer capability of 450 megawatts (MW) (in conjunction with existing transmission infrastructure) in the Northwest, with ability to accommodate up to 650 MW
  • 1,228 Towers
  • Construction began in September 2019 and required 4 million person-hours of labour
  • Indigenous men and women accounted for up to 60% of construction workforce

Featured image: (Twitter: @ToddSmithPC)

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