Power boost to mining and employment in Northern Ontario

Hydro One is investing in critical infrastructure to energise mining, industry and the life of indigenous communities in northeast and eastern Ontario

Hydro One Limited, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, is Ontario's largest electricity transmission and distribution provider with approximately 1.5m customers, approximately $31.5bn assets as at December 31, 2022, and annual revenues in 2022 of approximately $7.8bn.

Its team of approximately 9,300 skilled and dedicated employees build and maintain a safe and reliable electricity system which is essential to supporting strong and successful communities. In 2022, Hydro One invested approximately $2.1bn in its transmission and distribution networks, and supported the economy through buying approximately $1.9bn of goods and services. It is designated as a Sustainable Electricity Leader by Electricity Canada.

A directive from the Government of Ontario will drive the development and construction of transmission infrastructure to support economic growth and Reconciliation in the province. On October 23 the Minister for Energy directed the Ontario Energy Board to amend Hydro One Networks Inc.'s (Hydro One) transmission licence to develop and construct three new priority transmission lines to meet growing electricity demand in northeast and eastern Ontario saying that the three priority transmission lines will meet the needs of new and growing industries and help attract future jobs in these regions. 

Hydro One and First Nations have been collaborating on early planning and will advance the development and construction phases of the projects together. First Nations have the opportunity to invest in a 50 per cent equity stake in the transmission line component of the projects once complete through Hydro One's Equity Partnership model. Today Canada's First Nations are generating the kind of wealth that’s enabling them to take significant equity positions in gas pipeline projects, port facilities, transmission and fibre-optic lines, and even investments in high-end city residential properties. To support the growing electricity demand, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has recommended that the three new transmission lines come into service no later than 2029.

The three priority transmission projects the government designated will support capacity constraints and growing electricity demands in sectors including transportation, mining, steel, and manufacturing. The three designated priority projects are:

  • The Mississagi to Third Line – an approximately 75 km, 230-kilovolt transmission line between Mississagi Transformer Station (west of Sudbury) and Third Line Transformer Station (Sault Ste. Marie)

  • The Hanmer to Mississagi Line – an approximately 205 km, 500-kilovolt transmission line between Hanmer Transformer Station (Greater Sudbury) and Mississagi Transformer Station (west of Sudbury)

  • The Greater Toronto Area East Line – an approximately 50 km, 230-kilovolt transmission line between either Cherrywood Transformer Station (Pickering) or Clarington Transformer Station (Oshawa) and Dobbin Transformer Station (Peterborough)

Local communities welcome the investment

David Lebeter, the President and CEO of Hydro One, has said: "Hydro One is pleased to work with Indigenous communities in the region and the government of Ontario to build these critical infrastructure projects that will help unlock Ontario's clean energy future. With our long history of building and operating transmission lines in the province, we are confident that our resilient electricity network will enable unprecedented investments in the clean energy value chain, including clean steelmaking, mining, manufacturing and other sectors creating new jobs and driving Ontario's competitive advantage."

Community leaders have also endorsed the investment. Gimaa Craig Nootchtai, Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, said: "Atikameksheng Anishnawbek has always looked to the future as guidepost in our growth and evolution as a community. We are elated that our Sister Nations along the North Shore have worked diligently in concert with us and Hydro One to bring these two transmission lines to fruition. We remain committed to our partnership with Hydro One and we thank them for the future benefits this project will bring to all our communities." And Chief Mark McCoy of the Batchewana First Nation stated: "The leadership of Batchewana First Nation are focused on accommodating the diverse needs of our communities. The equity partnership with Hydro One allows us to meet the growing electricity demands throughout our territories. We are encouraged to see the project advancing as quickly as it is and look forward to promoting future jobs for our people in this sector."

Critical mineral development

"We're building a made-in-Ontario supply chain that's connecting the province's critical minerals and clean steel in the north, to auto makers and battery manufacturers across Ontario," said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. "These three new transmission lines will power that vision, helping to electrify Algoma Steel's conversion to electric arc furnace as well as new homes, critical mineral development, and other job creators in northeast and eastern Ontario." For the local authority, the mayor of Sault Ste. Marie

"Sault Ste. Marie is well-positioned for economic progress and population increases in the coming years," said Matthew Shoemaker, Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie. "The designation of the transmission lines to Hydro One, from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury, with local First Nation partners, will help both decarbonise our local industries and make future job-creating investments in our region possible. This announcement represents badly needed progress, and I look forward to future projects supporting Sault Ste. Marie and all of Northern Ontario."


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