Ontario has identified transmission reinforcement to Pickle Lake and the connection of remote communities as a priority project in its Long Term Energy Plan. Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) study concluded:
- The cost of diesel generation in remote communities is 3-10 times more than the average cost of power in Ontario.
- Power supply cost for Ontario's 25 remote communities is about $90 million/year and growing; this cost is mostly subsidized through Ontario electricity rates (ratepayers) and the federal government. For the 17 communities to be connected by the Wataynikaneyap Project, the estimated cost is $53 million /year and growing.
- Over 40 years, transmission connection to remote communities could result in over $1 billion in cost savings compared to continued diesel generation
In addition, the use of diesel generation (rather than transmission) results in significant health, safety, environmental, social development, and economic impacts. An independent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers of these potential benefits can be downloaded HERE.
Wataynikaneyap Power’s unique approach addresses First Nations needs by combining two phases – first, the grid reinforcement to Pickle Lake; the second being the extension north to connect 17 remote off-grid communities.
Phase 1 – New Transmission Line to Pickle Lake:
- Preliminary Proposed corridor from Dinorwic (south of Dryden) to Pickle Lake (Green Line on map)
- Approximately 300 km
- Proposed 230 kV design
- Estimated cost of $200 million ($2015)
- Environmental Assessment Terms of Reference Approved
- Construction start expected in late 2018 with completion in mid 2020
- Construction will not begin without a plan for connecting the Remote First Nations Communities (Phase 2)
Phase 2 – Grid Connection to 17 Remote First Nations Communities:
- Requires completion of Phase 1
- Connection of 17 remote First Nations communties north of Red Lake and Pickle Lake (Purple Lines on map)
- The preliminary proposed corridor north of Pickle Lake is estimated to be 895 km of 115kV and 44kV transmission line
- The preliminary proposed corridor north of Red Lake is estimated to be 626km of 115kV and 44kV transmission line
- Estimated construction cost for Phase 2 is $1.15 million ($2015)
- Separate Environmental Assessment (EA) for Phase 2 was initiated in January 2016
- Construction is expected to start in 2019 with completion in 2023
- If requested, will consider connections to other customers
First Nations wish to own, control, and benefit from development in their traditional homelands. Wataynikaneyap Power understands that Indigenous peoples have Aboriginal, Treaty and Inherent rights, as well as Indigenous laws. 22 First Nations working together and owning a major infrastructure development is unprecedented. The project has been a ground up initiative since 2008, built on the mandates and support of the communities. The Company has advanced engineering, permitting, and completed several rounds of engagement with potentially impacted communities. Construction is planned for late 2018; however, along with partnership investments, firm government commitments are required to enable the project.