Hydro One has announced that Route 2 has been selected as the preferred route for the proposed St. Clair Transmission Line.
Hydro One officials say after carefully evaluating five options, this route was chosen because it utilizes over 80 percent of existing transmission corridors and involves upgrading an existing transmission line.
It has the least impact on Indigenous communities, the natural environment, agricultural lands, and operations, Hydro One officials say.
Additionally, this route alternative includes an upgrade to the Wallaceburg Transformer Station, enhancing transmission reliability and resiliency for the Wallaceburg area.
The St. Clair Transmission Line will facilitate economic growth in the region, providing enough clean energy to power a city the size of Waterloo.
Through our engagement efforts, we recognized the importance of minimizing effects on homes, maximizing the use of existing transmission corridors, and considering the impact on agricultural operations and species at risk,” stated Sonny Karunakaran, Director of Project Delivery at Hydro One, in a media release.
“Route 2 was able to achieve all of these objectives. The new St. Clair Transmission Line will unlock the economic potential of the region and support local supply chains. We will continue to engage with Indigenous communities, residents, businesses, and elected officials as we expand the system to meet the growing needs of southwest Ontario.”
Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith, expressed support for the project.
“Our government is supporting the incredible growth in Southwest Ontario by accelerating the development of new transmission lines that will power new homes and job creators coming to the region,” Minister Smith stated, in a media release.
“I appreciate the work of Hydro One and communities across the Southwest who have worked together to reach this important milestone, which will unlock endless potential for the region.”
Darrin Canniff, Mayor of Chatham-Kent, added: “Southwestern Ontario is growing, and we understand this network of electricity infrastructure projects is critical to help meet the energy demand that our region will experience over the next several years. We will continue to work with Hydro One throughout the engagement process to ensure clean and reliable energy will continue to power southwestern Ontario for years to come.”
Louis Roesch, Director of Essex and Kent at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), emphasized the significance of the new transmission line for the region.
“The impact of this new line, once built, will be remarkable for the region,” Roesch said, in a press release.
“We continue to work very closely with Hydro One and provide feedback from our members, which is critical as the project continues to move forward.”
George Gilvesy, Chairman of the Board at the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, expressed satisfaction with the progress of transmission infrastructure investments.
“This project will enable the greenhouse vegetable sector to grow in Ontario, reinforcing the domestic food production system and cultivating fresh and nutritious vegetables while serving as a key economic contributor,” he said, in a media release.
Jeff Agar, Mayor of St. Clair Township, highlighted the importance of the project in ensuring reliable power for residents in St. Clair for years to come.
“This critical project will help ensure residents in St. Clair have reliable power for years to come,” Mayor Agar stated, in a media release.
Hydro One conducted a thorough evaluation of five route alternatives for the new transmission line, Hydro One officials say.
They collected environmental and technical information and sought input from various stakeholders, including Indigenous communities, community members, municipal staff, elected officials, government agencies, interest groups, and businesses.
The selected Route 2 aligns with the company’s objectives of minimizing negative effects on homes, utilizing existing transmission corridors to the maximum extent possible and considering the impact on agricultural operations and species at risk.
To ensure transparency and gather further feedback, Hydro One will be hosting Community Open Houses on June 26, 27, and 28, 2023, where residents can learn more about the route selection process and provide their input.
The open houses will take place at Brigden Fairgrounds, Brigden, ON, UAW Local 251 Hall, Wallaceburg, ON, and Kent Belgian Centre, Chatham, ON, respectively.
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) projects a quadruple increase in energy demand in southwest Ontario by 2035.
The St. Clair Transmission Line is part of a larger network of infrastructure projects in the region aimed at unlocking Ontario’s electrification potential, mitigating climate change, and meeting the forecasted demand.
As part of Hydro One’s commitment to reconciliation, the company will offer a 50 percent equity stake in the transmission line component of the project to proximate First Nations impacted by the development.
Hydro One aims to advance the project in partnership with Indigenous communities.
The transmission line is expected to be operational by 2028.
For more information about the project and details on the preferred route selection process, interested individuals can visit the St. Clair Transmission Line Project page on Hydro One’s website.
Community members are encouraged to provide feedback or join the contact list by contacting Hydro One at 1-877-345-6799 or Community.Relations@HydroOne.com.