Saskatchewan ready to tap into tremendous wind resource
October 19, 2018
The first competitive procurement in Saskatchewan has proven that wind energy is ready to reduce emissions in the province’s power sector
There is exciting news out of Saskatchewan today, as SaskPower has announced the conclusion of their 2018 competitive wind procurement. After an incredibly successful competitive process – which included 29 separate bids from 15 proponents – SaskPower signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with Potentia Renewables’ 200 MW Golden South Wind energy facility, located just south of Assiniboia. This facility will begin generating enough electricity to power 90,000 homes in 2021.
Some key common factors account for recent procurement success in both Saskatchewan and Alberta. The two provinces share some of the best wind resources in the country. Both have ambitious targets to green and diversify their electricity mixes – in the case of Saskatchewan targeting 30 per cent of total generating capacity from wind energy by 2030. And both enjoyed the benefits of robust competition – 29 projects were competing in Saskatchewan – resulting in a strong incentive for developers to maximize cost efficiencies. In fact, the average bid price across those 29 projects was $42 per megawatt hour, including both the cost of electricity and the cost of interconnecting the facility to SaskPower’s electricity infrastructure. The successful bid came in well below this average, ensuring low-cost price certainty for the long-term benefit of Saskatchewan electricity consumers.
The Golden South Wind Energy Facility project is expected to be in-service by 2021, and the developers has the benefit of a clearly defined pathway from contract award to turbine commissioning. This is thanks to the Government of Saskatchewan’s foresight in recently putting in place wind energy-specific and results-based standards for both project siting and adaptive management. These guidelines identify avoidance zones where developments are considered higher risk to wildlife populations, natural lands or in potential conflict with current land designations like provincial parks or conservation easements, as well as requirements for pre and post construction monitoring to assess impacts of the wind facility’s operation on local wildlife.
The framework for wind energy development is solid in Saskatchewan. This project grows SaskPower’s overall wind capacity to 600 MW of the 2,100 MW of wind capacity Saskatchewan is targeting towards the broader goal of using renewables to meet half of its electricity generating capacity. This target will contribute to Saskatchewan’s goal of cutting power sector greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The targeted 10-fold increase in Saskatchewan’s wind generating fleet in just 12 years will make the province a Canadian wind energy leader in installed capacity. And because wind energy is one of Saskatchewan’s lowest-cost options for new electricity supply, the current and future expansion of wind power makes financial sense too.