In the absence of robust policy and funding support, it is currently challenging to develop a community power project in Saskatchewan. Nevertheless, interest in community power is growing, and development activities have been initiated. For example, the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, a not-for-profit, registered charity, is in the process of establishing the province’s first solar co-operative through a crowd funding campaign. It aims to build and operate a 100 kW solar farm that will house 400 solar photovoltaic panels, in the Saskatoon region.
Beyond its Small Producers Program, SaskPower facilitates community access to the grid through the First Nations Power Authority (FNPA) partnership, which assists First Nations communities in participating in procurement opportunities with SaskPower. Although it does not invest in projects directly, FNPA assists with financing by assisting in the development of investment-ready financial models and facilitating access to networks of investment resources and potential development partners.
Projects underway to date include a solar demonstration project in Swift Current and two solar projects announced for northern Saskatchewan. In addition, a wind-battery storage demonstration project developed by the Cowessess First Nation, in partnership with NRCAN and the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), was recently completed southeast of Regina. A 40-MW biomass project is also in development in northwest Saskatchewan by the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, which will use waste wood to generate electricity sold to SaskPower.