Growing Saskatchewan’s Renewable Energy Portfolio
Saskatchewan has a tremendous untapped wind energy resource, a fact the provincial government recognized in 2015 when it unveiled a plan to have wind turbines make up 30 per cent of the province’s electricity generating capacity by 2030. Meeting the target will make Saskatchewan a wind energy leader in Canada.
The province currently has 221 MW of installed wind energy capacity, about five per cent of the total generation fleet. Increasing that to 30 per cent means Saskatchewan will have to add about 1,600 MW of new wind energy to its grid over the next 15 years.
Wind energy currently supplies only about three per cent of Saskatchewan’s electricity needs, a number that will rise to 20 per cent by 2030.
The province’s plan is driven by the recognition that wind energy is a low-cost, low-carbon way to meet demand and diversify Saskatchewan’s supply mix. Its wind energy target is part of a broader strategy that will see renewable energy sources make up 50 per cent of generating capacity within 15 years, cutting power sector greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent below 2005 levels.
The province’s environment ministry states that renewables generate no air pollutants or airborne particulate matter, and require far less water usage than conventional generation plants. Wind energy is the natural choice to lead the transition, given that dramatic cost reductions over the past five years have made it one of the most affordable new sources of electricity generation in Saskatchewan.
SaskPower plans to issue a request for proposals for 100-200 MW of wind energy in early 2017, a first step in reaching its wind energy goals. It is expected to attract widespread interest from the wind energy industry, resulting in a highly competitive process that will not only ensure low-cost electricity supply for Saskatchewan ratepayers, but also generate significant economic benefits for the province and for communities that host wind energy projects.
Wind by the numbers in Saskatchewan (December 2015)
Number of installations: 7
Number of Wind Turbines: 143
Total Installed Capacity (MW): 221 MW
Average Turbine Capacity (MW): 1.55 MW
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