Saskatchewan selects wind farm project

Saskatchewan’s largest wind farm project should be operating by 2021.

Environment minister Dustin Duncan, who is also responsible for SaskPower, said last week Potentia Renewables was selected from among 29 candidates to build a 200-megawatt facility just south of Assiniboia.

The Gold South wind farm would include up to 60 turbines in the rural municipalities of Lake of the Rivers and Stonehenge. The project has been in the works since 2009, according to the company website, and will be located on 34,000 acres of agricultural land. It will generate enough power to supply 90,000 homes.

“We’ve set a goal of a 40-percent reduction in SaskPower’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and so you will be seeing, I expect, a number of these announcements over this year, next year and into the 2020s to get us to that goal,” Duncan said.

Just last month the government announced final approval of the 177-megawatt Blue Hill project, by Algonquin Power. That 56-turbine facility was announced several years ago but had to be re-located to address environmental and wildlife concerns. It should be online by 2021 as well, with enough power for 70,000 homes.

Duncan also announced in early October up to 105 megawatts of renewable energy and carbon neutral energy through its Power Generation Partner Program. SaskPower will accept up to 10 megawatts of renewable power, such as solar, and 25 megawatts of carbon neutral non-renewable generation, such as flare gas, each year.

Duncan said wind projects going forward are likely to be of the 200-megawatt size because they seem to work best in terms of SaskPower’s interconnection, adding the power to the grid and managing it.

“It’s intermittent energy and so we need to ensure we have the base load to back that up,” the minister said.

The average cost of the power put forward by the proponents was $42 per megawatt hour. Duncan said Potentia’s bid was lower than that but he declined to give the actual price until after Alberta completed a request for proposal this week.

Potentia did not respond to a request for more information about the project but Duncan said it’s now up to the company to secure the land for the turbines and access roads and work with the community. An environmental assessment will also be required.

Potentia is owned by Power Energy Corp., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Power Corp. of Canada. It has about 700 projects in Canada and the United States.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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