(October 14, 2023 – Fort William First Nation, Ontario) Wataynikaneyap Power is pleased to announce the energization of Kasabonika Lake First Nation. The northern Ontario community was connected to the provincial power grid on September 19, 2023.
Kasabonika Lake Chief Tom Semple states, “This is an exciting achievement. Kasabonika Lake is proud to be an owner of the infrastructure that allows us to replace diesel-generation as our primary source of power. By removing power restrictions in our community, we are able to complete projects like renovating the school, building an office on the mainland, and a lighted sports field. We can also build a new high school, which will allow our youth to stay in the community longer for education, instead of having to leave the community at a younger age. Finally, we can start building new homes!”
Wataynikaneyap Power is majority-owned by an equal partnership of 24 First Nations, in partnership with Fortis Inc. and other private investors, to build and operate the ‘line that brings light’, a $1.9 billion dollar infrastructure project. The 1,800 km Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Line will ultimately connect 17 remote First Nations to the Ontario power grid, removing their reliance on diesel-generated electricity. Many of these generators are at capacity and not able to connect new infrastructure.
“Kasabonika Lake First Nation has experienced many challenges with housing, community infrastructure, community expansion and other matters impacted by lack of reliable energy,” remarks Margaret Kenequanash, CEO of Wataynikaneyap Power. “Connecting Kasabonika Lake First Nation is a huge accomplishment and will enable the community to address their challenges and look forward to more opportunities. Congratulations to Kasabonika Lake First Nation!”
Kasabonika Lake First Nation is located about 600 km north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. There are no all-season roads into the community; it is accessible by airport and ice road. The Wataynikaneyap Power transmission system connects the Kasabonika Lake community distribution system to the Ontario grid through a total of 673 km of line and six substations, originating from its Dinorwic Substation. Kasabonika Lake will continue to be served by Hydro One Remotes Communities Inc. (HORCI) for the local distribution of electricity.
Kasabonika Lake is the sixth First Nation energized by the provincial power grid through the Wataynikaneyap Power transmission system. 10 further First Nations are planned to be energized in 2023-2024. On October 14, Kasabonika Lake invited Wataynikaneyap Power, Opiikapawiin Services, government, and other stakeholders to celebrate this momentous occasion in the community.
Eliezar Mckay, First Nation LP Board Chair, states, “Congratulations to the team on this achievement! As we advance the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project, we will see that reliable power allows for opportunities in remote First Nations that others may take for granted. I look forward to seeing what opportunities our People will take on now that there is adequate power.”
“The Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project is the largest First Nations-led infrastructure project in Canada. First Nation ownership will ensure responsible development of infrastructure on our homelands and maximize benefits to communities,” remarks Frank Mckay, Board Chair for the Wataynikaneyap Power General Partnership (WPGP). “Congratulations Kasabonika Lake First Nation!”
“Fortis extends congratulations to Kasabonika Lake First Nation on this special occasion,” said David Hutchens, President and CEO, Fortis Inc. “The importance of connecting to the main Ontario electricity grid for the first time cannot be overstated. The people of Kasabonika Lake will now enjoy reliable, secure power. We look forward to completing the 1,800 km transmission line and connecting all Wataynikaneyap Power Project communities to the grid.”
About Wataynikaneyap Power
Wataynikaneyap Power is a licensed transmission company majority-owned by a partnership of 24 First Nations in partnership with Fortis Inc. and other private investors, regulated by the Ontario Energy Board. FortisOntario Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc., acts as the project manager through its wholly owned subsidiary, Wataynikaneyap Power PM Inc. The 24 First Nations also established Opiikapawiin Services to lead the community engagement and participation for Wataynikaneyap Power LP. To connect remote communities to the electrical grid, Wataynikaneyap Power will develop, manage construction, and operate approximately 1,800 kilometres of transmission lines in northwestern Ontario. For further information, please visit: www.wataypower.ca.
About First Nation Limited Partnership
First Nation Limited Partnership (FNLP) is a partnership of 24 First Nations in Northwestern Ontario working together to connect 17 remote communities currently powered by diesel generation stations. FNLP was established in 2015 to be the ownership and control of the participating First Nations’ interest in Wataynikaneyap Power LP. The 51% interest in Wataynikaneyap Power LP is equally owned by each of the 24 First Nation communities and FNLP will maintain their ability to increase their ownership to 100% over time.
Fortis is a well-diversified leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry with 2022 revenue of $11 billion and total assets of $64 billion as of June 30, 2023. The Corporation’s 9,200 employees serve utility customers in five Canadian provinces, ten U.S. states and three Caribbean countries. Fortis shares are listed on the TSX and NYSE and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com, www.sedar.com, or www.sec.gov.
About Opiikapawiin Services
Opiikapawiin Services LP (OSLP) was established by a partnership of 24 First Nations in Northwestern Ontario. OSLP is primarily responsible for administering projects and programs for Wataynikaneyap Power PM through a service agreement, relating to community engagement, community readiness, education & training, business readiness, stakeholder engagement, communications, and capacity building. OSLP also supports the First Nation Partnership in the management of its investment in Wataynikaneyap Power. For additional information, please visit: www.oslp.ca
Kristine Carmichael, Director of Corporate and Customer Services
Mary Kita, Manager, Communications