First Nation-led developer initiates environmental assessment for 230-kV Ontario line

First Nation-led Wataynikaneyap Power in September released its notice of commencement of terms of reference (ToR) for the environmental assessment on its proposed transmission line to Pickle Lake in northwestern Ontario.

Wataynikaneyap initially presented its plan in December 2011 to build the 186-mile line that supports Ontario’s 2010 Long-Term Energy Plan and provides power generation initiatives for First Nations.

“Chris Bentley, Minister of Energy; Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Northern Development and Mines; and Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, met with Wataynikaneyap representatives on Sept. 19 to listen to the company’s plans regarding transmission expansion to Pickle Lake and remote communities,” a spokesperson for Wataynikaneyap told TransmissionHub Oct. 5. “This is a proponent-driven process, and other parties may also initiate regulatory activities to develop the transmission line.”

Wataynikaneyap is a partnership between the Central Corridor Energy Group – comprising 13 First Nations with interest in transmission and clean energy development – and Goldcorp (NYSE:GG).

“The new line to Pickle Lake, identified as a priority transmission project in Ontario, is needed to accommodate load growth in the area and to enable the future connection of remote First Nation communities beyond Pickle Lake,” the spokesperson said.

The EA process was initiated for the first phase of a proposed two-phase development process.

The first phase includes construction of a 230-kV transmission line originating from an existing line long the TransCanada Highway and terminating at Pickle Lake.

The second phase is an extension of the grid north of Pickle Lake to service remote communities.

The developers indicate in the notice that engagement opportunities will be advertised and held throughout the EA process to encourage Aboriginal and stakeholder engagement.

Wataynikaneyap has released the draft ToR that proposes the route for the transmission line and outlines the project plan for addressing requirements under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act.

The draft ToR is available to stakeholders at public locations throughout the Pickle Lake region. The deadline for public comment on the draft ToR is Nov. 14.