WINDSOR – Ontario is taking action to ensure the efficient and timely development of five new electricity transmission infrastructure projects in Southwest Ontario, supporting the significant growth in the manufacturing and greenhouse sectors.
“Our government is supporting the incredible growth in Southwest Ontario by accelerating the development of five new transmission lines that will power the new Stellantis–LGES battery plant, the growing greenhouse sector and other job creators,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “As our government reduces the price of doing business, including by lowering electricity prices by 15-17 per cent for large commercial and industrial customers, we have seen significant new investment. Today we are demonstrating our commitment to build the critical infrastructure to support those new jobs.”
The government has issued an Order-in-Council declaring three transmission line projects as priorities, streamlining the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) regulatory approval process for these lines. The priority declaration requires the OEB to accept that the three initial lines are needed when assessing whether the projects are in the public interest, expediting the review process so projects can be brought online earlier.
The Minister of Energy has also directed the OEB to amend the transmission license of Hydro One Networks Inc. (Hydro One), requiring it to undertake development work and seek approvals for four of the identified transmission lines. Hydro One was previously designated as the transmitter for the Chatham-to-Lakeshore line in 2020.
“Whether it is game-changing auto investments like the one between LGES and Stellantis or the growing greenhouse sector, our government is making sure that job creators have the infrastructure needed to stimulate local economies,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Through our Driving Prosperity plan and investments like this, our government is staking Ontario’s claim to the emerging North American EV battery industry and positioning the province to leverage its critical mineral wealth to develop and build the vehicles of the future.”
Ontario’s clean electricity system, which is more than 90 per cent emission-free, is a competitive advantage. With new transmission projects often facing lengthy development times, these actions will ensure that transmission infrastructure can meet the needs of Southwest Ontario, giving businesses the confidence to expand or invest in their operations and create new jobs. This includes certainty for growing industries, such as the recently announced investment in the province’s first large-scale EV battery manufacturing plant in Windsor.
These transmission projects are also an opportunity to build and deepen Indigenous partnerships in the energy sector, which are vital to realizing the province’s shared energy goals.
The transmission projects between London, Windsor and Sarnia represent an investment of more than $1 billion and are proposed to be developed in phases through 2030.
The five transmission projects that will be advanced by these government actions are:
- The Chatham to Lakeshore Line, a 230-kilovolt line from Chatham Switching Station to the new Lakeshore Transformer Station currently under construction in the municipality of Lakeshore.
- The St. Clair Line, a 230-kilovolt line from Lambton Transformer Station, south of Sarnia, to Chatham Switching Station,
- The Longwood to Lakeshore Line, a 500-kilovolt line from Longwood Transformer Station, west of London, to the new Lakeshore Transformer Station,
- A second 500-kilovolt line from Longwood Transformer Station to Lakeshore Transformer Station, with scope to be further refined through planning by the IESO, and
- A 230-kilovolt line that would run from the Windsor area to Lakeshore Transformer station, with scope to be further refined through planning by the IESO.
Electricity demands in the Windsor-Essex and Chatham areas alone are forecasted to grow from roughly 500 megawatts (MW) of peak demand today to about 2,100 MW in 2035, which is about the equivalent of adding a city the size of Ottawa to the grid.
In the Kingsville-Leamington area alone there is currently a queue of customers waiting to connect to the electricity grid, demonstrating the need for the timely development of new electricity infrastructure in the region.
“The Government of Ontario is demonstrating their commitment to support the Stellantis–LGES joint-venture, which is preparing to invest $5-billion in our community and create about 2,500 local jobs. The City of Windsor is united in supporting this transmission project – not only is it needed to secure the battery plant, but to make any future investment in our region possible,” said Drew Dilkens, Mayor of Windsor.
“The booming agri-food industry in Leamington, and across Essex County, creates great local jobs and helps put food on tables across North America. Today’s announcement will help speed up local developments and secure a bright future for the agri-food industry in my community,” said Hilda MacDonald, Mayor of Leamington
“Our key industries have expressed the critical need for increased power and adequate infrastructure to supply the growing regional demand. The expansion of the designated new electricity infrastructure is essential to economic growth and prosperity in Windsor-Essex. As the lead economic development agency for the region, Invest WindsorEssex strongly supports the prioritization of this transmission project in southwestern Ontario to ensure continued local and global investment,” said Stephen MacKenzie President and Chief Executive Officer, Invest WindsorEssex.
“We applaud the City of Windsor and local, regional municipalities, together with the Ontario provincial government for having the foresight to plan for the infrastructure needs of the joint venture battery plant we recently announced in partnership with LG Energy Solutions, along with the many other local projects and industries that require a reliable electricity source to operate. Today marks a positive step forward for the climate and for the environment as we look to lower carbon emissions through the electrification of light-duty vehicles, and as we pursue our global commitment to be carbon net-zero by 2038,” Zach Leroux, Lead for North America Battery Industrialization, Stellantis N.V.
“The Government of Ontario has been a strong partner since we began discussions regarding the prospect of locating the battery plant in Canada. Security of electricity supply is an integral component of our construction planning process. We are pleased to see that these needed regional transmission projects can now move forward to accommodate growing regional electricity demand,” Michael Kim, Construction Lead, LGES.
“Hydro One is proud to transmit low-carbon electricity to Ontario’s businesses and communities and we are uniquely positioned to facilitate the transition toward a more sustainable future. With our long history of building transmission projects and our transmission reliability record in the top quartile in Canada, our resilient electricity network will meet the incredible growth in the region and attract new investments. Early engagement with Indigenous communities, municipalities and residents is vital to project planning and development and we are committed to engaging throughout the lifecycle of these projects. We are excited about today’s announcement and the partnership between Hydro One, the local business community and municipal and provincial governments to advance critical infrastructure,” said Mark Poweska, President and CEO, Hydro One.