SaskPower Capitalizes on Wind Energy’s Cost-Competitiveness
November 27, 2015
SaskPower’s plan for a ten-fold increase in installed wind energy capacity is an exciting step forward in more ways than one.
Under the new plan announced this week, SaskPower will increase its installed wind energy capacity from just over 200 MW today to more than 2,000 MW by 2030, when wind turbines would make up 30 per cent of the province’s total generating fleet. These wind energy facilities would then supply more than 20 per cent of Saskatchewan’s electricity needs, up from less than three per cent today.
Those are big numbers, and they would make SaskPower a wind energy leader in Canada.
But the announcement was noteworthy for other reasons as well. SaskPower has become the first Crown utility in Canada to decide on its own, without policy direction from government, that it makes sense to build a lot more wind. As electricity demand grows and federal regulation shuts down coal-fired power plants, SaskPower has concluded that wind energy is a low-cost source of new supply that can be reliably integrated into the grid. SaskPower’s wind energy target is part of a broader plan that will see renewable energy sources make up 50 per cent of generating capacity in the province within 15 years. This commitment will not only clean the air and help address climate change, it will also set the stage for Saskatchewan to make even deeper greenhouse gas emissions cuts in the future as other sectors of the economy, like transportation and industry, increasingly will be required to be powered by decarbonized electricity instead of fossil fuels.
The first step in meeting SaskPower’s new wind energy target is a request for proposals for 100 MW of wind energy that will be issued in 2016. CanWEA is confident the call will attract widespread interest from our industry, resulting in a highly competitive process that will not only ensure low-cost supply for Saskatchewan ratepayers today, but also position the province to continue to capture the benefits of its plentiful wind resource in the years to come.
Featured Photo ©SaskPower