A new electrical transmission line is set to strengthen northwestern Ontario’s economy. Along with more job creation, the project is set to add capacity for the Watay Power project and the Ring of Fire, and to ensure electrical reliability in the region.

The provincial government has directed the Ontario Energy Board to designate NextBridge – not Hydro One - as the transmitter to build the new line, known as the East-West Tie Line Project. The transmission line will be between Thunder Bay and Wawa.

Energy Minister, Indigenous Affairs Minister and Kenora Rainy-River MPP Greg Rickford made the announcement in Fort William First Nation yesterday. He says that the new line will enhance reliability and improve the flow of cheaper and lower-emission energy.

"Maintaining reliability and cost-efficiency is a top priority for our government," said Rickford. "Moving forward with the East-West Tie Line will support economic growth in northwestern Ontario, signalling that Ontario is Open for Business, and connecting communities and Indigenous people with good, local job opportunities, now and in the future."

NextBridge says that the project is required to ensure the long-term reliability of the electricity supply in northwestern Ontario. Emerging industrial activities in the area, notably the mining sector, are expected to drive strong electricity demand growth in the area.

The Independent Electricity System Operator has identified supply needs for the region, which need to be met with additional generation or transmission. In 2010, the provincial government identified the project as a priority. The date for the completion of the project has been updated to 2020. Originally, the project was set for completion in the first half of 2018.

NextBridge says that they have been meeting with Indigenous communities, community representatives, the public, and conducting environmental studies in the area for project feedback.

The Wataynikaneyap Power Project is a $1.6 billion project to connect 16 remote communities to the provincial electrical grid. The line runs from Red Lake to Pikangikum First Nation.

Phase two of the plan aims to connect the 16 First Nation communities north of Red Lake and Pickle Lake, in the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation. That work will begin in 2019, with community connections starting in 2021 and all communities connected by late 2023.

For more information:
NextBridge – East-West Tie Line Project.
Power for Pikangikum

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