Wataynikaneyap Power is a transmission company equally owned by 22 First Nations communities and FortisOntario. The company will develop, own, and operate new transmission facilities in Northwestern Ontario in order to connect 17 remote First Nation communities currently powered by diesel generation. Continued use of diesel generation to power First Nations communities is financially unsustainable, environmentally risky, and inadequate to meet community needs.
Wataynikaneyap means “line that brings light” in Anishiniiniimowin, named by the Elders who provided guidance to the partners. The company’s vision is to provide reliable and affordable power to residents, businesses, and industry in the region, realizing opportunities for First Nations. Wataynikaneyap is working with FortisOntario to develop the project.
Wataynikaneyap Power Objectives
- Establish a First Nation led Transmission Company to improve transmission service to Pickle lake and connect First Nations to the provincial electricity grid
- Provide clean, reliable and accesible power for residents, businesses, and industry in the region
- Realize economic opportunities for First Nations in the construction and operation of the Transmission Line
- Provide a market for First Nation power generation initiatives
- 13 Chiefs mandated steering committee to investigate transmission development and ownership
- Objective of connecting remote communities to the provincial grid to provide accessible and reliable energy
- Expanded the mandate to include the transmission line discussions south of Pickle Lake
- Expanded mandate to include connection of 5 Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) communities
- Expanded mandate to include connection of Sandy Lake First Nation
- Expanded mandate to include connection of Pikangikum First Nation
Partnership with FortisOntario and RES Canada
In December 2014, Wataynikaneyap Power initiated a process to select a qualified transmission partner. Through a competitive review of qualified proposals, Wataynikaneyap Power selected the Fortis-RES Partnership for exclusive negotiation, and entered into a Partnership Agreement for the purpose of developing and operating the transmission facilities. In March 2017, Fortis Inc completed the transaction to increase its share in the ownership of the transmission partnership by acquiring the interest of Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc. (RES). As a result of this increased investment, Fortis’s equity in Wataynikaneyap increased to 49%.
The 22 First Nations are 51% owners in Wataynikaneyap Power and have the option to become 100% owners over time.
FortisOntario is an electric utility which owns and operates Canadian Niagara Power Inc., Cornwall Street Railway Light & Power Company Ltd. and Algoma Power Inc., serving a combined 64,000 customers located in Fort Erie, Port Colborne, Cornwall, Gananoque and the Algoma District of northern Ontario. FortisOntario also owns regulated transmission assets in the Niagara and Cornwall regions, including an international interconnection between New York State and Fort Erie, Ontario. It has approximately 3,300 km of distribution and transmission lines. FortisOntario is the only investor-owned electricity distribution utility in the Province of Ontario.
FortisOntario is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc. (“Fortis”). Fortis is a leader in the North American electric and gas utility business, with total assets of approximately $48 billion and fiscal 2016 revenue of $6.8 billion. Its regulated utilities serve 3.2 million customers across Canada and in the United States and the Caribbean For more information, visit www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.