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Wataynikaneyap Power Announces Financial Close and Issues Notice to Proceed on Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project

Fasken
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Client

Ontario Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines

On October 29, 2019 Wataynikaneyap Power announced that it has officially achieved financial close for construction of the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project (the “Project”), the largest Indigenous-led infrastructure project in Canada. This exceptional Project is majority- owned by 24 First Nations in partnership with Fortis and other private investors. The Project will build approximately 1,800 kilometres of transmission lines in Northwestern Ontario to connect 16 remote First Nations communities to the Ontario power grid. When complete, the project will provide over 14,000 First Nations people in North-western Ontario with a clean, reliable and affordable supply of electricity. For communities, reliable power will mean the ability to pursue key initiatives such as new housing, water treatment and other infrastructure needs. It will also eliminate the financially unsustainable and environmentally unsafe reliance on costly diesel generation. The environmental costs of diesel generation, which include reduced air quality and risk of diesel fuel spills, will be avoided. This project will also create approximately 769 jobs during construction and close to $900 million in socio-economic value, along with many other new economic opportunities. The First Nations Limited Partnership is a partnership of 24 First Nations in Northwestern Ontario working together to connect 16 remote communities that are currently powered by diesel generation stations. Wataynikaneyap Power is a licensed transmission company, regulated by the Ontario Energy Board, and majority-owned by a partnership of 24 First Nation communities in partnership with Fortis Inc. and other private investors. Financing for the $1.94 Billion project included a $ 1.34 billion loan from the Province of Ontario alongside a $680 million loan from a group of Canadian banks. Fasken advised the Province of Ontario, represented by the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines on its $1.34 billion loan to Wataynikaneyap Power with a team that included Ella Plotkin, Brian Kelsall, Sean Stevens, Marc Lefler and Zackary Burashko.

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