Wataynikaneyap Power files leave to construct application with Ontario Energy Board for proposed project

Wataynikaneyap Power LP on June 13 said that it has filed a leave to construct application with the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to build and operate the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project.

The project, Wataynikaneyap Power said, “is an unprecedented First Nations-led project to build approximately 1,800 kilometres of transmission lines in Northwestern Ontario to connect 17 First Nations communities to the Ontario power grid. The project will reinforce the existing transmission grid to Pickle Lake and will expand grid service north of Pickle Lake and Red Lake to ultimately connect 17 First Nations communities.”

Wataynikaneyap Power CEO Margaret Kenequanash said in the statement, in part, “This is an incredibly important project that will provide clean, reliable power to the First Nations communities in Northern Ontario that are currently living off the grid and relying on very expensive, environmentally-unfriendly diesel generators to power their homes and businesses.”

Filing a leave to construct application under Section 92 is an OEB requirement for any company proposing to build an electricity transmission line in Ontario, Wataynikaneyap Power said, adding that the application provides details of the project such as timing, design and costs.

The OEB has acknowledged receipt of the application and has assigned a case number (EB-2018-0190), a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub on June 13, noting that the application should soon be available through the OEB’s website, by searching for that case number. 

The spokesperson said that the cost of the project is about C$1.6bn.

According to Wataynikaneyap Power’s website, Phase 1 of the project includes an overhead alternating current transmission line and associated components that would be located within a two-kilometer-wide corridor about 300 kilometers in length.

Of the Phase 1 proposed design, the site noted that the transmission line would be designed to operate as a 230-kV, 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 115 kV. That 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, the site noted, adding that a 115-kV design would accommodate only 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 230-kV was selected.

The site also noted that Phase 2 of the project includes overhead 115-kV and 44-kV transmission lines for two subsystems, north of Pickle Lake and Red Lake, as well as associated components that would be located within a two-kilometer-wide corridor.

According to the schedule posted on the site:

  • Phase 1 – New transmission line to Pickle Lake: potential construction start in early 2019; potential construction completion in late 2020
  • Phase 2 – Connection of 16 remote First Nations communities: potential construction start in late 2019; remote community connections expected in 2021, with buildout through 2023

As noted in the statement, Wataynikaneyap Power is a licensed transmission partnership equally owned by 22 First Nation communities (51%), in partnership with Fortis Inc., (49%). FortisOntario Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc., and an electricity transmission and distribution utility holding company based in Ontario, owns 49% of the general partner of Wataynikaneyap Power and acts as the project manager through Wataynikaneyap Power PM Inc., according to the statement. To connect remote First Nations communities to the electrical grid, Wataynikaneyap Power will develop, manage construction, and operate about 1,800 kilometers of 230-kV, 115-kV, and 44-kV lines in northwestern Ontario, the statement noted.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3056 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.