SaskPower seeks input on location for new power projects

Open houses to be held for feedback from residents in the Regina area on the transmission line and power facility

SaskPower is reviewing input from a series of open houses as it determines the best location for a new natural gas power-generating facility and transmission line.

The two separate projects are both planned for the Regina area.

Doug Opseth, director of supply planning at the crown corporation, said more generating capacity is required.

“Even with the slowdown in the economy, we’re still seeing load growth,” he said.

SaskPower expects the generating plant will be needed as early as 2022. It has identified four general locations for the facility: the Moose Jaw Industrial area, the Belle Plaine area, a region it is calling West Sherwood northwest of Regina and the Rowatt area southeast of the city.

“At some point we’re going to need that new generating capacity somewhere,” Opseth said.

“Our plan is that it would be a new combined cycle natural gas facility, which utilizes natural gas to generate electricity.”

Feedback from residents in the potential site areas will help determine some specific locations. Another series of open houses will be held later this year to update residents on preferred locations, and a final decision is likely early next year.

The transmission line project is a 42-kilometre 230-kilovolt line to carry electricity from the Condie switching station to an existing line northwest of Belle Plaine. It is also required to integrate new power generated from the Chinook Power Station to be built near Swift Current next year.

The structures will be two-pole galvanized steel. According to information from SaskPower, minimum clearance over farmland is 8.1 metres, or 26.6 feet. The right-of-way width is 40 metres, or 131.2 feet.

There are several proposed corridors for the line, but they are all within miles of each other. The preferred route will be chosen by June with construction expected to begin in August 2018.

Opseth agreed that transmission lines often generate the most concern from residents because they cross multiple quarter sections. The gas plant will require the purchase of one-quarter section, although there will be transmission lines from it, too.

SaskPower compensates land owners for easement rights, de-pending on the effect the transmission line has on individual property and crops. It is based on:

  • loss of ownership rights
  • area taken out of production permanently
  • increased costs, reduced returns and intangible costs as a result of farming around the structure
  • damage to remaining property
  • construction and maintenance damage
  • weed control

Opseth said SaskPower has many natural gas generating plants in the province.

They emit far less carbon than coal facilities and ideally back up solar and wind generation.

“I think a lot of people think of SaskPower still as a coal utility when in reality most of our generating facilities are natural gas or hydro and wind,” he said.

Natural gas generation accounts for about 40 percent of capacity, followed by conventional coal at 32 percent, hydro at 20 percent, wind at five percent and coal with carbon capture storage and other at three percent.

The province wants half of generation by 2030 to come from non-renewable sources, 30 percent from wind, 15 percent from hydro and five percent from other sources.

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