Study Demonstrates Significant Socioeconomic Benefits from the Wataynikaneyap Power Project
Wataynikaneyap Power engaged PwC, in association with HDR, to estimate the socioeconomic benefits of building grid connection to 16 remote First Nations communities.
Construction of the Wataynikaneyap Power Project is expected to generate significant economic impacts and benefits for First Nations communities, Northwestern Ontario, and the rest of Canada more broadly. Economic impact and benefits generated from the construction and development of the project, which are forecasted to contribute on a cumulative basis $1,190 million and $957 million in GDP to Ontario and Canada respectively. In addition during the construction period, the project would create roughly 261 jobs in Northwestern Ontario and almost 770 across Canada.
The study also builds on the financial feasibility analysis (which shows an estimated $1.0 billion in savings) by quantifying the various environmental and social benefits associated of the project. By quantifying these benefits PwC/HDR is able to estimate the “Sustainable Return on Investment” (SROI). Over 40 years, the Wataynikaneyap Power Project is estimated to result in over 6.6 million tonnes of avoided CO2 equivalent GHG emissions, resulting in a social value of $472 million. Air pollutants also have a significant impact to community health and local vegatation. PwC/HDR estimated the value of these avoided costs as $304 million and $35 millon respectivetly. Finally, accidental spills of diesel fuel can generate significant environmental damage and can be costly to remediate and there is always a risk of significant spill occurring during transportation. The estimated value of avoided spills is $21 million. In total, the Sustainable Return on Investment of the project is $1.9 billion.
Once operational, the Wataynikaneyap Power Project will help alleviate load growth restrictions, which hinder economic growth in the region. Access to transmission infrastructure is a key component for natural resource development in Northwestern Ontario, in particular, the Far North. Natural resource development (mining, renewable energy) would create additional spin off benefits for the region. The construction of the project also provides opportunities for skills development, which many stakeholders we interviewed indicated were an important part of the benefits of this project and can generate significant economic growth beyond just the construction impacts.
Wataynikaneyap Power Project will be one of the largest First Nations projects in Canada and a model for development. First Nations communities working together and controlling development of infrastructure within their traditional lands will be a catalyst for greater prosperity and economic self determination.
Download the PwC/HDR Socioeconomic Impact Study below:
Document: Wataynikaneyap Power Project – PWC Socioeconomic Impact Analysis – June 17 2015.pdf