Pikangikum First Nation has been connected to Ontario's electricity grid, bringing a reliable, clean supply of power to the community for the first time.
Pikangikum is the first of 16 First Nation communities that are expected to be connected through the First Nation-led Wataynikaneyap Power project, the largest and most far-reaching First Nation grid connection project in Ontario's history.
"I'm proud of the role the Ontario government has played in helping to connect Pikangikum First Nation to the provincial electricity grid," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. "Access to reliable, clean and affordable electricity will pave the way for Pikangikum to connect to greater opportunities - for economic growth, job creation, and community development."
"This transformational project is expected to provide more than 14,000 people living in remote First Nation communities in northwestern Ontario with a reliable, clean supply of electricity," said Minister Rickford. "It's also bringing something even more significant - the promise of a brighter future."
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, on behalf of the Executive Council, celebrates the shut down of Pikangikum First Nation's diesel generating station and official energization of the transmission line.
“This is an enormous achievement and I congratulate Chief Dean Owen and Council for their years of effort to secure a connection to the provincial electricity grid. A reliable power source will finally end Pikangikum's reliance on diesel generation and help the community advance plans for growth and development," said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. "We also congratulate Wataynikaneyap Power for their work to connect 17 First Nations to the provincial electricity grid through the first phase of this project. Connecting our remote communities to the provincial grid is better for the environment and will help improve the lives of our [citizens]."
Pikangikum First Nation becomes the first community to officially connect to the Ontario power grid via the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Line Project. The milestone will be marked by the lighting of a community Christmas tree - the first ever in Pikangikum - followed by a community feast.
Wataynikaneyap Power was launched in 2015 to expand grid connection for remote First Nations. The Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Line Project will connect these remote communities to Ontario’s power grid in phases. It was awarded $1.6 billion earlier this year to connect remote First Nation communities to the provincial power grid over a 1,800 kilometre transmission line.
Wataynikaneyap is a licensed transmission company, regulated by the Ontario Energy Board, equally owned by 22 First Nation communities (51%), in partnership with Fortis (49%). FortisOntario Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis, 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.