Pikangikum Power Line
The Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project is the construction, operation, maintenance, and decommission of approximately 1,800 km of a 230kV, 115kV, 44kV, 25kV alternating current transmission system and 22 substations and switching stations. The Project is a transmission line connecting 17 remote First Nations to the Ontario electricity grid. The Pikangikum Line is one part of the Project.
Pikangikum First Nation joined the First Nation Limited Partnership in August 2016 to become one of the Project’s 24 owner communities, under the condition that the community was grid connected on an expedited schedule. Pikangikum was the closest community to the existing provincial grid, and it was facing a dire energy crisis at the time.
On August 17, 2017, the Government of Canada announced a commitment of up to $60 million to build the Pikangikum Line. PowerTel Utilities Contractors Ltd. (PowerTel) was engaged as the contractor for the 117 km distribution line to connect Pikangikum First Nation to the provincial power system in Red Lake. Construction started in November 2017 and the community was energized on December 20, 2018. The high-voltage line now operates at 115 kV.
Connection – December 2018
To celebrate their connection, for the first time in over a decade, Pikangikum had a large Christmas tree set up with lights. Prior to the grid connection, frequent brownouts limited the amount of electricity people could use.
Pre-Grid Electrical Supply Situation
Pikangikum First Nation operated a costly and fuel-intensive diesel generating station that had been at capacity since 2010, leaving the community to struggle with constant power outages and several catastrophic generator failures. This station was approximately 40 years old and had exceeded its effective life, as aging and undersized components became increasingly difficult to maintain and service.
The electrical needs of the rapidly growing community had long outgrown the capacity of the local generation, preventing the connection of additional homes and other critical infrastructure. Over 80% of existing homes were without water and sewer service.
- Appendix A: CEAA Screening and MNRF Screening Matrix for the Pikangikum Distribution Line (2009) and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Correspondence
- Appendix B: Wildlife Species at Risk Assessment
- Appendix C: Aboriginal Engagement Plan
- Appendix D: Stage 1 Archaeological Assessment
Building Connections 2018 Newsletter
Monthly newsletter provided for community members during construction of the Pikangikum Line