Wataynikaneyap Power announced the completion and energization of a 230 kV line, approximately 300 kilometres from Dinorwic to Pickle Lake, Ontario. This is the first part of the 1,800 km Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project (No. 40 on ReNew’s 2022 Top100 Projects) that is being built to connect 17 remote First Nations to the Ontario power grid.

Wataynikaneyap Power is majority-owned by 24 First Nations, in partnership with Fortis Inc. and other private investors, to bring the ‘line that brings light’, a $1.8 billion dollar infrastructure project, to remote northern Ontario First Nations currently powered by diesel generators. Many of these generators are at capacity and not able to connect new infrastructure.

“I am honoured and pleased to announce that we are celebrating the completion and energization of the 230 kV line to enable the connection of 17 remote First Nations to reliable, clean energy as mandated by our Chiefs and supported by our partners,” said Margaret Kenequanash, CEO of Wataynikaneyap Power. “This achievement took years of negotiations, perseverance, commitment, and working together by the First Nations, governments, and industry to bring the 230 kV line to the region. This is a big step forward and a huge milestone towards fulfilling the vision.”

The new 230 kV upgrade to Pickle Lake will increase the load supply capabilities and provide the operating flexibility to meet the needs of the remote communities that will be energized in Phase 2 of the Project.

“With many communities’ diesel generators at capacity, it is impossible to hook up new houses and businesses,” added Frank Mckay, Board Chair for the Wataynikaneyap Power General Partnership (WPGP).  “Medical treatments, education, food security, and technology upgrades have been negatively affected by the limitations of diesel generation. As we advance the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project, we will see that reliable power will allow for opportunities in remote First Nations that others may take for granted.”

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There are two main substations for the 230 kV energization. Dinorwic Substation will serve as the connection to the provincial power grid while Pickle Lake Substation will step down the power from 230 kV to 115 kV. Valard is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project.

“The completion and energization of the transmission line to Pickle Lake marks an important milestone in the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project. We are proud to see this advancement and look forward to all 17 First Nations being connected to the electricity grid,” said David Hutchens, President and CEO, Fortis Inc.

“The Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project is the largest First Nations-led infrastructure project in Canada,” says Eliezar Mckay, First Nation LP Board Chair. “Our leaders have come together on a regional issue and found a solution. First Nation ownership will ensure responsible development of infrastructure on our homelands and maximize benefits to communities.”

Featured image: (Watay Power)


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