Hydro One Inc., Ontario's largest electricity transmission and distribution company, will continue to support the expansion of the greenhouse industry in southwestern Ontario through the development and construction of a new 230 kV transmission line from Chatham to Leamington, as requested by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).
"A safe, strong and reliable transmission system will support economic growth, jobs and a fast-growing industry heavily dependent on electricity," says Mark Poweska, president and CEO, Hydro One. "We have been listening to our customers and working with our industry partners to support the thriving greenhouse industry and Leamington's growing economy. This substantial investment to increase the availability of power will allow for more than 40 medium-sized greenhouses to start-up and grow."
Expected to be completed by the end of 2025, the new line will bring an additional 400 mW of power to the area.
"This investment will help to support a fast-growing industry that is contributing $1.5 billion and 10,000 jobs to the Ontario economy," says Peter Quiring, owner and CEO of NatureFresh Farms in Leamington. "Electricity infrastructure must keep up with this industry's historic rate of growth – this project will help to keep businesses and jobs in southwestern Ontario and facilitate the construction of approximately 800 acres of new greenhouses with grow lights for year-round growing."
"We thank Hydro One for partnering with us in advocating for this critical infrastructure," says Stephen MacKenzie, president and CEO of the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation. "Upgrades to the local electricity system are to the betterment of the people and businesses of the Windsor-Essex region and for economic development in Ontario."
In addition to the new transmission line, Hydro One has already responded to the rapid growth of the greenhouse industry with a multi-stage investment designed to add 600 mW to the Leamington area. About $193 million has been approved to be invested in the area to-date through the construction of a new transmission station, which was recently completed, a second station which is under construction and a third in the planning stages. Combined with the new transmission line, Hydro One's work is expected to increase the amount of available power in the region by 1,000 mW – or enough to power a city about the size of Ottawa.
Hydro One will start working on the development portion of this project which includes a preliminary engineering design, an estimated cost, public and Indigenous consultation and the Environmental Assessment.