FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION, ONT. — Bearskin Lake First Nation was recently energized and connected to the provincial power grid, Wataynikaneyap Power announced.
The Wataynikaneyap Power transmission system connects the Bearskin Lake community distribution system to the Ontario grid through a total of 739 kilometres of line and six substations, originating from its Dinorwic Substation.
Bearskin Lake, which is located over 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont. and is accessible by ice roads in the winter season and plane year-round, will continue to be served by Hydro One Remotes Communities Inc. for the local distribution of electricity.
Upon grid connection, the community turned off the diesel generators which were providing them with primary power.
Bearskin Lake became the fourth First Nation energized by the provincial power grid through the Wataynikaneyap Power transmission system. Five more First Nations are planned to be energized in 2023, with the remaining seven to be connected in 2024.
Wataynikaneyap Power is majority-owned by an equal partnership of 24 First Nations, in partnership with Fortis Inc. and other private investors, to build and operate the “line that brings light,” a $1.9 billion dollar infrastructure project, a reality for remote, northern Ontario First Nations. The 1,800-kilometre line will ultimately connect 17 remote First Nations to the Ontario power grid, removing their reliance on diesel-generated electricity.
“Grid connection is necessary to power the future needs of the community, including our future water and wastewater community upgrades,” Bearskin Lake Chief Lefty Kamenawatamin said in a statement. “Reliable power enables us to grow. We have multiple houses and buildings ready for connection, as we no longer have to worry about being at max capacity for power.”