With some of the best solar and inland wind resources in Canada, ample hydro potential, and extensive possibilities for sustainable biomass production, Saskatchewan is well placed to increase its share of renewable energy.
After hydro power, wind power has been the most developed renewable energy resource. There are currently 222 MW of wind power installed at 6 facilities. Three additional wind farms are in development with a combined capacity of 207 MW. In addition, the City of Saskatoon, one of only two cities in Saskatchewan with an electricity distribution company independent from SaskPower, has completed a landfill gas collection system. Gas is produced through the decomposition of organic waste in the city’s landfill and the electricity generated is sold through combustion to SaskPower.
Opportunities for generating renewable energy are limited to SaskPower’s irregular Request for Proposals (RFPs) for large commercial wind farms and its net metering and Small Producer programs.
In the last RFP for 200 MW, 177 MW were awarded to a wind project coming on-line at Chaplin and 23 MW to a wind project developed at Morse.
The Small Producers Program allows residents, farms, businesses and communities the opportunity to develop and sell up to 100 kilowatts (kW) generated by ‘environmentally preferred’ power technologies, including: biomass or biogas, flare gas, heat recovery, low-impact hydro, solar, and wind [i]. Small producers who choose to sell their electricity to SaskPower currently receive 10.4¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 20-year power purchase agreements, with the exception of hydro projects, which receive 40-year contracts. The rate does not differ between eligible generation technologies.
Another option for small producers is to use their power generated to offset their monthly power bills through net metering, where a bi-directional meter keeps track of the electricity flowing to and from the grid [ii].
[i] Saskatchewan Power Corporation. 2015b. Net Metering Program. Retrieved 5 Aug 2015 from http://www.saskpower.com/efficiency-programs-and-tips/generate-your-own-power/self-generation-programs/net-metering-program/
[ii] Saskatchewan Power Corporation. 2015c. Small Power Producers Program. Retrieved 4 Aug 2015 from http://www.saskpower.com/efficiency-programs-and-tips/generate-your-own-power/self-generation-programs/small-power-producers-program/
[iii] CBC. 2015. SaskPower to use wind, solar, geothermal to hit 50% renewable mark by 2030. Retrieved 23 Nov 2015 from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/saskpower-50percent-renewable-electricity-2030-1.3330892