(August 27, 2015 – Thunder Bay) Wataynikaneyap Power achieved a new milestone today by signing a Partnership Agreement with FortisOntario Inc., and Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc. (“Fortis-RES Partnership”) to expand grid connection to sixteen (16) remote First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario.
“Our people’s vision is to own, control and benefit from major infrastructure development in our homelands. Through this partnership, we are changing the landscape of how First Nations can do business into the future,” says Margaret Kenequanash, Chair of Wataynikaneyap Power. “Together we have reached a major milestone towards getting our communities off diesel generation, and improving the socio-economic situation for everyone’s benefit.”
Wataynikaneyap Power, owned by 20 First Nation communities, holds a majority interest in the project, which is mandated and supported by community leadership.
The Hon. Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy, will attend today’s press conference along with several other key provincial dignitaries. “We acknowledge the ongoing commitment from the Province of Ontario to connect remote First Nations to the provincial grid, and thank Minister Chiarelli and his colleagues for their continued strong support,” says Kenequanash.
“Establishing the grid-connection of remote communities is a top priority for Ontario, as outlined in our 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan,” says the Hon. Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy. “Congratulations to Wataynikaneyap Power and Fortis-RES on your unprecedented partnership, which has the potential to deliver real and lasting community results.”
The Fortis-RES Partnership, selected through a competitive process as a qualified transmission partner, will work with Wataynikaneyap Power and will invest in the project.
“RES Canada is pleased to join Wataynikaneyap Power and FortisOntario in the completion and ownership of the Wataynikaneyap Transmission Project,” says Glen Davis, President/CEO of RES Canada. “This cost-effective and much-needed project will serve remote communities, reduce diesel subsidies, create jobs, and stimulate economic development.”
“FortisOntario is honoured to be selected as the transmission partner for Wataynikaneyap Power,” says Bill Daley, President/CEO of FortisOntario. “We look forward to a collaborative partnership for the development, ownership and the operation of these important connections to the remote First Nation communities through upgrading the existing grid.”
In 2010 the First Nation communities partnered with Goldcorp, who provided early development funding. Goldcorp officially exited the project earlier this year.
“Goldcorp is proud to have participated in the partnership with the First Nations, and our support to date is reflective of Goldcorp’s commitment to create sustainable value by investing in the local communities close to our mine sites,” says Chris Woodall, Senior Vice President of Operations, Canada-US Goldcorp. “We are confident that, with the well-experienced new transmission partner in place, Wataynikaneyap Power is poised for long-term success.”
Construction is planned to start in early 2018; however, along with the Partnership investment, a firm government funding arrangement is required to make this project a reality.
About Wataynikaneyap Power:
Wataynikaneyap Power is a transmission company equally owned by 20 First Nations communities. The company will develop, own, and operate new transmission facilities in Northwestern Ontario in order to connect remote First Nation communities currently powered by diesel generation. Continued use of diesel generation to power First Nations communities is financially unsustainable, environmentally risky, and inadequate to meet community needs. Wataynikaneyap’s goal is to provide clean and accessible power for residents, businesses, and industry in the region, and maximize opportunities and benefits for First Nations as a result of the development. More information about Wataynikaneyap Power can be found at www.wataypower.ca
About RES Canada:
Since 1997, RES has been providing development, engineering, construction, and operations services to the utility-scale wind, solar, transmission, and energy storage markets across the Americas. The company has constructed more than 1000 kilometers (km) of transmission lines, including the 344.4km MATL project, and over 8,000 MW of utility-scale renewable energy and energy storage projects, throughout the U.S., Canada, and Chile. RES’ corporate office in Canada is located in Montreal, Quebec with regional offices located in Oakville, Ontario. Globally, RES has developed and/or built over 10 GW of renewable energy capacity, has an asset management portfolio exceeding 1 GW, and is active in a range of renewable technologies including wind, solar, energy storage, transmission, and demand side management. For more information, visit, http://www.res-americas.com/en/about-us/res-canada.aspx
FortisOntario is an electric utility, which owns and operates Canadian Niagara Power Inc., Cornwall Street Railway Light & Power Company Ltd. and Algoma Power Inc., serving a combined 64,000 customers located in Fort Erie, Port Colborne, Cornwall, Gananoque and the Algoma District of northern Ontario. FortisOntario also owns regulated transmission assets in the Niagara and Cornwall regions, including an international interconnection between New York State and Fort Erie, Ontario. It has approximately 3,300 km of distribution and transmission lines. FortisOntario is the only investor owned electricity distribution utility in the province of Ontario. FortisOntario is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc. (“Fortis”). Fortis is a leader in the North American electric and gas utility business, with total assets of approximately $28 billion and fiscal 2014 revenue of $5.4 billion. Its regulated utilities serve more than 3 million customers across Canada and in the United States and the Caribbean. For more information, visit www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.