Wataynikaneyap Power—composed of 24 Northwestern First Nations communities—partnered with FortisOntario and RES Canada in August 2015 to develop and operate the transmission facilities to connect 17 remote reserves to the power grid and transition them away from diesel generation.
The plan calls for a 1,800-kilometre transmission line broken into two phases: a 300-kilometre line to Pickle Lake ($200 million), and transmission lines to connect the communities north of Pickle Lake and Red Lake ($1.15 billion).
In January 2019, two new First Nations communities joined the project with a minority ownership stake: Mishkeegogamang First Nation and Ojibway Nation of Saugeen’s utility partner, Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp.(Algonquin).
In July 2020 the project reached a key milestone, with the first structure erected in the Sioux Lookout area near Highway 516. Potential remote electrification is anticipated in 2022, with build-out to 2023.