Ontario Powering Economic Development in Northwestern Ontario
WAWA – Ontario is delivering on its promise to provide reliable, affordable electricity across the province with the activation of the East-West Tie, a new 450 km transmission line that runs from Wawa to Thunder Bay. This new transmission infrastructure will provide flexibility and capacity that is essential for building prosperous communities and supporting future Northern economic development initiatives, including the Critical Minerals Strategy, as we better connect mines in the north with the growing electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing sector in the south.
The government accelerated the delivery of this new transmission line by directing the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to award NextBridge Leave to Construct in 2019. Following this direction, the project was completed on schedule and went into service on March 31, 2022.
“Our government is powering growth across the Northwest with the activation of the East-West Tie,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “With this new transmission line, we are delivering affordable and reliable electricity while providing the flexibility to develop other northern industries, including critical mineral development, as we build a Made-in-Ontario supply chain that connects to our growing EV and EV battery manufacturing sectors.”
By accelerating the development of this critical transmission infrastructure, the government is connecting more businesses to our world-class clean electricity system, which is more than 90 per cent emissions free. This clean energy advantage allows for development of cleaner, lower-emissions mining and industry compared to other jurisdictions, which is critical as corporate decisions on where to invest are increasingly influenced by environmental and sustainability goals. Businesses in the north also benefit from the government’s work to reduce the cost of electricity. The Comprehensive Electricity Plan is saving large commercial and industrial customers between 15 and 17 per cent on their electricity bills, while new Northern Energy Advantage Program (NEAP) will support businesses as they make transformative investments to their operations, such as transitioning to clean technologies.
“The East-West Tie is another example of what can be accomplished through strong partnerships,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. “Indigenous businesses helped make this project a reality and it will lead to long term economic opportunities in the region. The East-West Tie will also meet the energy needs of mining and industrial sectors for many years to come.”
This transmission line was built in partnership with Bamkushwada LP (BLP), jointly owned by six First Nation communities along the north shore of Lake Superior. Indigenous peoples accounted for up to 60 per cent of the construction workforce for this project, while providing training opportunities for more than 200 Indigenous workers.
- The East-West Tie is a new 450 km double circuit 230kV line between Wawa and Thunder Bay with 450 MW of transfer capability.
- The transmission project represents an investment of approximately $777 million.
- The East-West Tie transmission line was developed and constructed by NextBridge Infrastructure, a consortium that includes NextEra Energy Inc., Enbridge Inc. and OMERS Infrastructure Management Inc., the investment arm of Ontario’s municipal employee pension fund.
- The transmission station work was completed by Hydro One Networks Inc.
“Now that it’s come into service, the East West Tie Line will support a new era of economic growth and opportunity for the region. This is good news for families and businesses in Northern Ontario and I applaud the Government of Ontario and the project partners for their bold action in bringing this project to fruition with a focus on Indigenous inclusion and participation.”
– Chief Peter Collins
Fort William First Nation
“This is a momentous day for the people of Ontario and NextBridge is proud to have brought our expertise and resources to the region to make it a reality,” “Despite numerous external challenges during construction, including a global pandemic and historic forest fire activity in the region, the NextBridge joint venture partners have fulfilled a commitment to the people of Ontario and the East-West Tie to deliver electricity that will power growth in the Northwest.”
– Jennifer Tidmarsh
NextBridge Project Director
Ontario Supporting Economic Growth in Southwest Ontario