Alberta has target for its electricity sector to hit 30% renewable energy by 2030

Two years ago, SaskPower announced it would reduce emissions by 40 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and said it will achieve this by doubling the percentage of renewable electricity from 25 per cent of overall capacity to as much as 50 per cent, according to a Saskatchewan Government press release.

“Developing cleaner electricity generation options is essential to power Saskatchewan’s future, and I’m excited to see that future continuing to take shape,” said Tim Eckel, SaskPower’s vice president of asset management, planning and sustainability.

“In the past two years we have started a number of new renewable generation projects as well as projects that support renewable integration. Saskatchewan people will see more of that as we continue towards 2030.”

Saskatchewan may drop subsidies to electricity customers buying their own solar or wind and switch to subsidies for electricity storage solutions, such as batteries, Eckels told Energi News at this week’s Alberta & Saskatchewan Renewable Energy Finance Summit.

He says that in 2015, the provincial utility committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, going beyond the reduction level mandated by the federal government.

Renewable generation capacity would grow from 25 per cent to as much as 50 per cent by 2030 at a cost of approximately $1.5 billion.

“SaskPower continues to explore the full range of generation options, but we know that wind will play a major role in meeting our 2030 goals. In the next 12 years, SaskPower plans to add as much as 1800 megawatts of wind generation,” said Dustin Duncan, minister of energy and resources in the release.

“We expect the first competitive process for a 200 MW wind power project to wrap up in 2018, and we also expect to be able to name the proponent for the province’s first utility-scale solar project in the coming weeks.”

SaskPower currently has an estimated 1,000 customers contributing electricity into the grid.

Work on the Chinook Power Station, the province’s newest natural gas generation plant, just passed the halfway mark. When completed it will provide baseload generation which will balance out more intermittent generation options like wind and solar, says Duncan.

“The launch of Saskatchewan’s utility-scale solar electricity generation procurement marks another major milestone for renewable energy in Canada. Saskatchewan’s world-class solar energy resource combined with significant cost declines in recent years make solar energy a more cost-effective option for the province than ever before,” said John Gorman, president and CEO, Canadian Solar Industries Association.

“The time is right for Saskatchewan to begin to explore the role that solar energy will play in the province’s future supply-mix.”

Since 2015, SaskPower has:

  • Announced plans to add 60 MW of ground solar generation by 2021 through a combination of competitive procurement, a partnership with First Nations Power Authority and community projects;
  • Launched the competitive process for Saskatchewan’s first 10 megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar project, with the successful proponent expected to be named by the of this year;
  • Launched the competitive process to buy up to 200 MW of wind generation, with the successful proponent expected to be named in spring 2018;
  • Started construction on the Chinook Power Station in January 2017, which will add 350 MW of natural gas generation and provide important baseload power to support future integration of intermittent renewable generation sources like wind and solar;
  • Announced site considerations for the province’s next 350 MW to 700 MW natural gas plant, which could be needed as early as 2023;
  • Signed a power purchase agreement with DEEP Earth Energy Production Corp. in May 2017 that will allow further research into the potential for Saskatchewan’s first geothermal power project;
  • Announced two new flare gas power generation projects, which came into commercial operation in 2016 and 2017, providing a combined 1.75 MW of electricity to Saskatchewan’s power grid; and
  • Seen significant growth in its customer self-generation programs.