On August 16, 2022, Wataynikaneyap Power announced the completion and energization of a 230 kV line, approximately 300 kilometres from Dinorwic to Pickle Lake, Ontario. The new 230 kV upgrade to Pickle Lake will increase the load supply capabilities and provide the operating flexibility to meet the needs of the remote communities that will be energized in Phase 2 of the Project.
The Phase 1 transmission line is 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.
The systems main components are:
An overhead alternating current transmission line and associated components that are located within a 2 km-wide corridor approximately 300 km in length. The corridor starts in Dinorwic (east of Dryden) and extends north to terminate at Pickle Lake.
Two Corridor Alternatives originating in the Ignace area: Corridor 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 Wataynikaneyap transmission line and an existing 230 kV line owned and operated by Hydro One. The connection facility is located at Dinorwic, and the connection facility for the two Ignace to Pickle Lake corridor alternatives are located approximately 20 km west of Ignace.
A transformer station and ancillary components located 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.
Energization– August 2022
Wataynikaneyap Power celebrated the energization of the 230 kV line on September 15 with Mishkeegogamang First Nation and September 19 with Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation.
Previous Transmission Condition
The Pickle Lake area was serviced by a radial (i.e. single supply) 115kV transmission line, called the E1C Line, which was owned and operated by Hydro One. The customers serviced by this line include Slate Falls First Nations, Cat Lake First Nation, Mishkeegogamang First Nation, and the town of Pickle Lake. Newmont’s Musselwhite Mine is also serviced via the privately owned and operated M1M transmission line. The E1C Line was over 70 years old, operated at capacity, and was 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 Map
Phase 1 Environmental Assessment Requirements
Phase 1 required 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 Phase 1, which indicates that the EA was to 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.
The final Phase 1 EA report is available here: Amended Final Phase 1 EA report