Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC) announced in a media release on Aug. 2 that the Lake Erie Connector Project would be suspended indefinitely due to “the uncertainty of the economy.”
The Project was a 117 km bi-directional underwater electricity transmission line that would deliver 1,000 MW of power directly between Ontario and 13 U.S Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic states. The project site, located at the defunct Nanticoke generating station was set to get underway in the spring of 2023. ITC Investment Holdings a subsidiary of Fortis Inc. were responsible for the project and were partnering with Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) on this project. SNEC and SNGRDC were prepared to enter into the $33 million equity investment deal before the project suspended operations and SNEC ultimately did rescind their support of the project.
Matt Jamieson, president and CEO of SNGRDC, expressed his disappointment on the project being suspended and why the economy was affecting this project.
"The project itself is enormous, I think the total project is about $1.7 billion and I mean it's no secret given the macro economic circumstances that were facing here in Canada and The United States. Those factors weighed heavily on the economics of the project," he said.
"There are foreign exchange exposure risks associated with the project as well and as I mentioned those macro economic circumstances that are out there, inflation is rising at historic levels, interest rates are seemingly continuing to rise and commodity pricing like copper and other key elements of the actual transmission line are all very unstable," he continued. "So when you're looking at developing a project the order of magnitude of the Lake Erie Connector every little nuance has an affect on the viability of the project. Our partner on the project ITC Holdings which is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc. and Fortis is a publicly traded company and ultimately Fortis made a decision that the economics were no longer viable and unfortunately the decided to pull the project and suspend it."
SNGRDC were seeking community feedback on the transmission line and hosted a series of webinars as well as an in-person community meeting but say they didn't see the participation that they would've liked.
"I think the total number of people who participated was about 50 people through the whole course of those 10 sessions," Jamieson said. But I do think the people who did, did offer some quality feedback and help provide guidance on what the sensitivities were in the community on this project in particular."
Jamieson said he does not know if the project will pick up again but says another developer could acquire and revitalize the project at which time SNEC and SNGRDC could choose if they would like to participate.
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