Current Transmission Condition
The Pickle Lake area is currently serviced by a radial (i.e. single supply) 115kV transmission line which is owned and operated by Hydro One; this line is called the E1C line. The customers currently serviced by this line include the three First Nation communities (Slate Falls First Nations, Cat Lake First Nation, Mishkeegogamang First Nation), the Town of Pickle Lake and Goldcorp’s Musselwhite Mine, via the privately owned and operated M1M transmission line. The E1C line is over 70 years old, operated at capacity, and is susceptible to frequent and prolonged outages, resulting in poor power service to the region and limiting economic development. A forest fire in 2011 damaged the E1C line and left the communities and customers without electricity for over two weeks.
Phase 1 Proposed Design
The transmission line will be designed to operate as a 230kV AC single circuit, a 230/115 kV autotransformer, related switching facilities and the necessary voltage control devices, leaving the option to operate the transmission line at 115kV. This line design has been chosen as the most cost effective means to reliably serve the existing and future long-term load requirements in the region. A 115kV design would only accommodate regional load growth to 2020, which does not meet the long-term needs of the remote First Nations communities and other industrial customers; therefore, a 230kV was selected.
Phase 1 Description
The Project includes the construction, operation and maintenance, and retirement of a proposed alternating current electricity transmission system in Northwestern Ontario. The proposed Project includes the following main components:
- An overhead alternating current
transmission line and associated components that will be located within a
2-km-wide corridor approximately 300 km in length. Based on the outcome of a
preliminary corridor routing analysis completed for the Amended Terms of
Reference and the results of engagement, three corridors have been identified,
- a Preliminary Proposed Corridor originating in Dinorwic (east of Dryden), and extending north to terminate at Pickle Lake;
- two Corridor Alternatives originating in the Ignace area, as follows:
- 1Corridor Alternative Around Mishkeegogamang – a corridor alternative that travels west around Mishkeegogamang First Nation extending north to terminate at Pickle Lake, and
- Corridor Alternative Through Mishkeegogamang – a corridor alternative that travels east through Mishkeegogamang First Nation and also terminates at Pickle Lake.
- Connection facility to serve as a connection between the Project transmission line and an existing 230 kV line owned and operated by Hydro One. The connection facility for the Preliminary Proposed Corridor is proposed to be located at Dinorwic, and the connection facility for the two Ignace to Pickle Lake corridor alternatives is proposed to be located approximately 20 km west of Ignace;
- A transformer station and ancillary components is proposed at Pickle Lake to provide for connection and switching of the 115 kV alternating current transmission line to existing Hydro One and the Musselwhite Mine transmission lines; and
- Temporary structures associated with construction, including but not limited to construction camps, access roads or trails, laydown areas, turn-around areas, watercourse crossings, and waste management and staging areas.
Phase 1 Map
Phase 1 Environmental Assessment Requirements
The Project requires EA approval from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) pursuant to the Environmental Assessment Act. Specifically, Ontario Regulation 116/01 made under the Environmental Assessment Act requires transmission line projects which are greater than 115kV and less than 500kV and greater than, or equal to, 50 km in length to undergo an Individual EA. Wataynikaneyap completed a lengthy process on the Terms of Reference (“ToR”) approval, commencing with issuing a Draft ToR for review in September 2012. The Amended ToR for this Project, which indicates that the EA will be prepared in accordance with subsections 6(2)(c) and 6.1(3) of the Environmental Assessment Act, was submitted to the MOECC in November 2014 and was approved by the Minister of the MOECC in February 2015. On April 15, 2015, the Notice of Commencement of Environmental Assessment was issued to formally start the EA stage of the process. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA) (Agency 2012) came into force on July 6, 2012. The Project is not captured by the Regulations Designating Physical Activities as the voltage of the transmission line is below 345 kV and the Preliminary Proposed Corridor or two Corridor Alternatives are not located within a wildlife area, as defined under the Wildlife Area Regulations, or migratory bird sanctuary, as designated under the Migratory Bird Sanctuary Regulations.