A transmission line in Fort Providence in April 2021. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
A power transmission line connecting Fort Providence and Kakisa to the South Slave’s Taltson hydro system is now expected to be operational in 2026.
The updated timeline is included in regulatory filings submitted by the NWT government in recent weeks.
The 170-km transmission line is intended to move Fort Providence and Kakisa onto hydro with Fort Providence’s diesel power plant as a backup, in the hope of reducing diesel use by a million litres annually and bringing down greenhouse gas emissions by 2.75 kilotons.
But construction work keeps getting kicked down the road.
When the project was announced in 2021, it was valued at $60 million – with $45 million of that coming from the federal government – and construction was expected to start in 2023.
Last year, when the GNWT changed its approach to infrastructure by scaling back what it sought to accomplish in each year’s capital budget, completion of the transmission line was moved to 2024-25.
In the new regulatory filings, the GNWT expects construction to begin in spring 2025 but not necessarily wrap up by the end of that year. The transmission line is now expected to be commissioned and operational by spring 2026.
The line will closely follow the highway from Hay River down to Enterprise, across to Kakisa and up to Fort Providence. A direct route across the wilderness could have been cheaper to build, the territory says, but would require a new corridor across the landscape and be harder to reach for ongoing maintenance.
The recent filings form part of the GNWT’s attempt to secure a range of environmental and development permissions required before the line can be built. Within the documents, the GNWT says it has held “early and ongoing engagement” with a range of Indigenous governments and organizations “identified as being potentially impacted.”
The territory hopes to select contractors to work on construction by summer next year.