Planning in Northwest Ontario

The planning process for this region is underway to identify future electricity needs and options to ensure an adequate and reliable supply continues to be provided for its customers. This second cycle of planning commenced with the development of a Needs Assessment, a process led by Hydro One.

The Scoping Assessment Outcome Report is now available and outlines the needs and specific areas of the region that require more comprehensive regional planning through an Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP). A Terms of Reference also set out parameters for the IRRP and composition of the Technical Working Group tasked with developing the 20-year electricity plan for the Northwest region.

Community Engagement

An engagement initiative has commenced for interested parties to learn more about electricity planning activities undertaken for the Northwest region and offer input for consideration into the development of the Scoping Assessment and Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP).

Bulk Planning

There are also bulk planning activities underway in the region. Development work is ongoing for two priority bulk planning projects – the East-West Tie Expansion and the Northwest Bulk Transmission Line.

For more information, see Northwest Ontario Bulk Planning Initiatives.

About the Northwest

For regional planning purposes, Northwest Ontario includes the area roughly bounded by Lake Superior to the south, the Marathon area to the east, and the Manitoba border to the west. It includes the districts of Kenora, Rainy River and Thunder Bay.

The region accounts for approximately 60 percent of the land area in the province and approximately two percent of Ontario's total population.

Roughly half of the population in the Northwest resides in the City of Thunder Bay, and the remaining population resides in smaller communities across the region.

The Northwest is host to active mining and forestry operations. Expansion of these sectors are a driver of electricity growth in the region, as well as growth in communities that support them.

Map of Northwest Ontario region

Northwest Ontario boundaries

The map indicates the approximate boundaries of the planning sub-regions within the Northwestern region. See a larger view.
 
 

There are also 25 remote communities here not connected to Ontario's transmission system that are supplied electricity by diesel generation. The need to develop a plan to connect remote communities was identified in the Minister of Energy's 2011 Supply Mix Directive. This will add electricity demand growth to the transmission system in the Northwest.


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2015/2016 Regional Planning Activities in Northwest Ontario

Greenstone-Marathon sub-region

The last regional planning process cycle for the Greenstone-Marathon sub-region was completed in June 2016 and an Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP) was released.


North of Dryden sub-region

The last regional planning process cycle for the North of Dryden sub-region was completed in January 2015 and an Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP) was released. 


Thunder Bay sub-region

The last regional planning process cycle for the Thunder Bay sub-region was completed in December 2016 and an Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP) was released.


West of Thunder Bay sub-region

The last regional planning process cycle for the West of Thunder Bay sub-region was completed in July 2016 and an Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP) was released.


Remote Community Connection Plan

The draft Remote Community Connection Plan is in draft form, as community engagement has not yet been finalized. Efforts are underway so that all communities that wish to provide input that will be documented and considered within the plan can do so.