Wataynikaneyap Power engaged PwC, in association with HDR, to estimate the socioeconomic benefits of building grid connection to 17 remote First Nations communities.
Construction of the Wataynikaneyap Power Project is expected to generate significant economic impacts and benefits for First Nations communities, Northwestern Ontario, and the rest of Canada more broadly. Economic benefits generated from the construction and development of the project are forecasted to contribute on a cumulative basis $1,190 million and $957 million in GDP to Ontario and Canada respectively. In addition during the construction period, the project would create roughly 261 jobs in Northwestern Ontario and almost 769 across Canada.
The study also builds on PwC's financial feasibility analysis (which shows an estimated $1.0 billion in savings) by quantifying the various environmental and social benefits associated with the project. By quantifying these benefits PwC/HDR is able to quantify the expected "Sustainable Return on Investment" (SROI). Over 40 years, the Wataynikaneyap Power Project is estimated to result in over 6.6 million tonnes of avoided CO2 equivalent GHG emissions, resulting in a social value of $472 million. Air pollutants also have a significant impact to community health and local vegatation. PwC/HDR estimated the value of these avoided costs as $304 million and $35 millon respectivetly. Finally, accidental spills of diesel fuel can generate significant environmental damage and can be costly to remediate and there is always a risk of a significant spill occurring during transportation. The estimated value of avoided spills is $21 million. In total, the Sustainable Return on Investment of the project is estimated at $1.9 billion.
Once operational, the Wataynikaneyap Power Project will help alleviate load growth restrictions, which hinder economic growth in the region. Access to transmission infrastructure is a key component for economic development in Northwestern Ontario, in particular, the Far North. Economic development would create additional spin off benefits for the region. The construction of the project also creates new business opportunities and skills development for local communities.
The Wataynikaneyap Power Project will be one of the largest First Nations projects in Canada and a model for development. 20 First Nations communities working together and controlling development of infrastructure within their traditional lands is unprecedented and will be a catalyst for greater prosperity and economic self determination.
Download the PwC/HDR Socioeconomic Impact Study below: