Transmission Line Extension to Support Economic Growth in Northwestern Ontario
April 25, 2023
Toronto, ON, April 25, 2023 – To meet future electricity needs in northwestern Ontario, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has recommended that Hydro One construct Phase 2 of the Waasigan Transmission Line between Atikokan and Dryden.
The transmission line extension will help address electricity demand growth in the region, which is expected to increase between 50-100 per cent over the next decade, driven by potential mining developments. The IESO’s updated demand forecasts were developed through engagements with local communities, First Nations and businesses.
In May 2022, construction of Phase 1 was recommended to proceed with an in-service date as close to the end of 2025 as possible. Based on refreshed demand forecasts that includes potential mining developments in the region, the IESO also recommends that Phase 2 go into service as soon as practical after Phase 1.
This recommendation ensures northwestern Ontario is well positioned to provide reliable and sustainable electricity to support economic growth in the region west of Thunder Bay under a range of growth scenarios. It will also position the region to support decarbonization through potential electrification of mining activities.
“As demand for electricity is expected to grow by nearly two per cent per year for the next 20 years in Ontario, it is absolutely critical that we work together to get the necessary infrastructure built in time to meet those emerging needs. The Waasigan Transmission Line will lay the groundwork so that communities, businesses and Indigenous peoples in the northwest have a reliable supply of electricity that supports economic growth. Projects such as this are key to an orderly energy transition that will meet the needs and objectives of future residents, businesses and institutions across our province.”
- Lesley Gallinger, President and CEO, Independent Electricity System Operator
“Hydro One is expanding the clean electricity system to harness the wealth of minerals in the northwest and support the incredible growth in the province. We will continue to work with Indigenous communities, municipalities, residents and stakeholders to develop and build this critical transmission line and ensure Ontario remains an attractive place to invest, live and work.”
- David Lebeter, President and CEO, Hydro One
“We know demand for reliable, affordable and clean electricity is growing, and we are working with all of our partners, including the IESO and First Nations on meeting that demand. By designating the Waasigan Transmission Line as a priority, we are enabling economic growth and electrification in the North by ensuring the power needed by communities, businesses and Indigenous peoples in the northwest is there for them.”
- Todd Smith, Minister of Energy, Government of Ontario
About the IESO
The IESO operates Ontario's power grid 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ensuring Ontarians receive a reliable and cost-effective source of power when and where they need it. It works with sector partners and engages with communities across Ontario to plan and prepare for the province's electricity needs now and into the future.
IESO Media Relations