(Pikangikum, ON.) December 20, 2018 – Today, the Honourable Bob Nault, Member of Parliament for Kenora, joined Pikangikum First Nation to celebrate the community’s connection to the Ontario power grid through their newly completed transmission line.
“Today marks a significant milestone for Pikangikum and Wataynikaneyap Power,” stated Nault. “The community will finally be connected to the provincial electrical grid which will eliminate their reliance on diesel. This is not only more cost-effective for the community, but also more environmentally friendly.”
Pikangikum is the first community to be connected to the provincial power grid through the Wataynikaneyap Power project. In March 2018, the federal government announced a $1.6 billion investment in Wataynikaneyap Power, an Indigenous-led and majority owned Transmission Company working to connect First Nations communities to the Ontario power grid by 2023. The Pikangikum transmission line represents a $60.2 million federal investment, as part of the total federal investment of $1.6 billion in the Wataynikaneyap Power project.
This historic milestone enables Pikangikum to eliminate their dependence on diesel as the primary energy source. The connection to the Ontario grid will provide safe, clean and reliable energy that supports the health and safety of community members, while allowing for new economic development and job opportunities that were not possible in the past.
“Turning on the lights in Pikangikum today represents more than just an electrical connection,” concluded Nault. “It means greater economic opportunities for the community and its residents, including critical community infrastructure and better access to programs and services. I would like to congratulate Chief Dean Owen and council, as well as Margaret Kenequanash and the team at Watay Power for a job well done and what will certainly be a very bright future.”
- In Ontario, 25 remote First Nations rely on high-cost diesel generation as their sole source of electricity, which has limited community growth and access to economic opportunities with all the challenges of fuel delivery and environmental disadvantages.
- In March 2018, the federal government announced a $1.6 billion investment in the Wataynikaneyap Power Project, the largest and most far-reaching Indigenous-led transmission project in the history of the province. The project plans to connect other First Nations to the provincial electricity grid by 2023.
- Construction on this project began in October 2017 and the first pole in the power line for Pikangikum was installed on February 15, 2018.
- Wataynikaneyap Power is a licensed transmission company equally owned by 22 First Nations (51%) who partnered with Fortis (49%), an experienced industry leader. The goal is an eventual 100% ownership by First Nations.
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