Current Transmission Condition
The electricity systems in these communities are supplied by internal combustion diesel engines coupled to AC generators. In general, these AC generators produce an output voltage of 600 volts, which is then stepped up to the operating voltage of the community distribution system (3.7 kV, 13.6 kV, 25 kV, or other).
Currently, Hydro One Remote Communities Inc., a subsidiary of Hydro One Inc. and an entity regulated by the Ontario Energy Board, provides distribution service to eight Wataynikaneyap remote communities. Six are served by Independent Power Authorities, which are community owned, non-regulated utilities that do not receive the benefits associated with standardization of rates and subsidies enjoyed by regulated utilities. One community (McDowell Lake) does not currently enjoy any electricity supply.
The communities are spread across a large area north of Pickle Lake and Red Lake, most of whom lack all season roads. There are ongoing challenges to uninterrupted supply, a significant cost premium associated with the transportation of fuel and adverse environmental impacts associated with diesel generation. Winter roads provide seasonal access for one to two months per year and air transport is the only means to and from the communities for the remainder of the year. This presents a significant challenge in transporting fuel for generation to the communities.
Phase 2 Description
The Project is the construction, operation, maintenance and retirement of approximately 1,630 km of a 115kV and 44kV alternating current transmission system, located north of Red Lake and Pickle Lake, to connect to 17 remote First Nation communities. Phase 2 includes the following main components:
- Overhead 115kV and 44kV transmission lines for two subsystems, north of Pickle Lake and Red Lake, and associated components that will be located within a 2 km wide corridor. An approximate 40m-wide transmission line alignment right of way will be cleared within the 2 km wide corridor. The transmission line structures and associated conductors and anchors will be installed within the approximate 40m wide transmission line alignment right of way to the extent practical.
- These 2km wide corridors were selected through the Environmental Assessment and Technical Review processes, after extensive consultations with all impacted first nation communities and other stakeholders.
- Access Roads will be constructed and or improved to provide access to the transmission line and approximate 40 m wide alignment right of way during construction and operation of the facility.
- Wherever possible, the new transmission lines and construction access roads will be constructed along the paths of existing all-season roads, or the paths of future all-season roads as identified by the First Nation Communities.
- Distribution stations located in or near each First Nation community, with new connections to the existing distribution facilities. The proposed distribution stations are required as a point of transmission distribution at each First Nation community.
- Additional components associated with construction, including but not limited to: construction camps, laydown areas, water crossings, as well as waste management and staging areas. Some of these may be temporary and some may be permanent and remain during operation and maintenance.
Phase 2 Map
Phase 2 Environmental Assessment Requirements
There are a number of environmental assessment regulatory requirements that will need to be met in order for the Project to proceed. Wataynikaneyap will implement a comprehensive engagement plan and effects assessment method and process. Although there are a number of requirements from both provincial and federal regulatory ministries and agencies, a single report that satisfies all requirements will be produced. A description of the various regulatory requirements that the Project is subject to:
The Project is subject to the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act under the following processes:
- Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities (for applicable 115kV sections and associated infrastructure)
- Class Environmental Assessment for MNRF Resource Stewardship and Facility Development (Category C) (for applicable 44kV sections and associated infrastructure, as well as disposition of resources)
- Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves (Category C) (disposition of resources for applicable 44kV section within Provincial Parks)
- Ministry of Infrastructure Public Work Class EA (if required, disposition of resources for applicable sections)