Wataynikaneyap Power has named four companies that have qualified to bid for the construction of the C$1.6bn ($1.24bn) Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project in Northwestern Ontario.


Image: The Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project will help connect 17 First Nations to the Ontario power grid. Photo: courtesy of John Smith/Freeimages.com.

The pre-qualified proponents to get engineering, procurement, construction request for proposal packages (EPC RFP) for the first and second phases of the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project are Forbes Bros. (PenneCon), Power North Contractors JV ( PowerTel, Kiewit and SNC-L), Valard Construction and Voltage Power (Sigfusson, Anishnawabe Construction).

The transmission project will see construction of 1,800km of transmission lines that will connect 17 remote indigenous communities to the Ontario electricity grid for the first time.

Wataynikaneyap Power said that with the selection of the pre-qualified proponents done, the company’s Owner’s Engineer, Hatch, will carry on with preparations to release the full release of the RFP documents.

Wataynikaneyap Power CEO Margaret Kenequanash said: “The announcement of the pre-qualified proponents is the next step for this exciting project.

“Upon receipt of regulatory approvals, the upcoming construction phase of the project is a critical milestone to connecting 17 First Nations to reliable accessible power.”

The Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project is expected to strengthen the existing transmission grid to Pickle Lake apart from expanding grid service north of Pickle Lake and Red Lake to eventually connect 17 First Nations communities.

In March, the Canadian and Ontario governments announced funding for the project. The announced funding framework is expected to enable a viable transmission business with First Nations and Fortis taking part as the equity investors.

The objectives of the funding framework include connection of remote First Nations communities, capacity building and setting up of a viable transmission business that will be eventually owned and operated completely by First Nations.

The Wataynikaneyap Power partnership is made up of 22 First Nations who equally own 51%, with industry partner Fortis owning the remaining 49% of the project.

According to Wataynikaneyap Power, 17 out of the 22 First Nations depend on diesel generators, which has become financially burdening, environmentally dangerous and insufficient to cover community needs.