This most recent study comes more than 15 years after the Ontario and Manitoba provinces, under different governments, struck a similar deal. Ontario eventually backed away from the project, citing its high cost and market conditions for power at the time.

The proposed dam is to be built on the Nelson river, 800km north of Winnipeg. It is expected that Manitoba will sell the power generated at the plant to neighbouring Ontario, which is planning to close down some of its coal fired power plants.

Three alternative transmission routes are currently being studied. One is a far northern passage that will skirt Hudson Bay and James Bay with no links to north-western Ontario.

Another corridor under evaluation follows a northwest-to-southeast corridor to Thunder Bay. This route is favoured by the First Nations as they are seeking to get an all-weather road into some of their communities.

Another route, along Highway 17, has the potential of linking up a significant portion of the smaller northern communities.