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Wind power project near Morse area

REGINA — By the end of the month, SaskPower will be producing another 23 megawatts (MW) of wind power from the Morse area, where Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. is putting the finishing touches on its independent wind power project.

SaskPower recently completed work on a 14 km transmission line and substation in southwestern Saskatchewan to put the wind power on the grid, the Crown corporation said in a press release Tuesday.

The $81-million wind power project will produce an average of 104 gigawatt hours (GWh) annually — enough energy to power 8,000 to 9,000 homes and businesses.

When completed, the Morse project will add to the 25 per cent of Saskatchewan’s power production that comes from renewable sources, said Guy Bruce, SaskPower’s vice-president of resource planning. “By 2020, we forecast that 10 per cent of our capacity will be from wind and we are working to make that number go even higher.”

Construction on the Morse wind facility in Saskatchewan began in early August with foundation and access road work. Delivery and installation of the 10 Siemens turbines commenced in January, with commercial operation of the facility expected by the end of March.

Morse is one of three wind projects in Saskatchewan where Algonquin has partnered with SaskPower. Algonquin has a 75 per cent stake in the $69-million Red Lily wind farm near Moosomin, a 26.4 MW project using 16 Vestas turbines completed in 2011.

Algonquin is also developing SaskPower’s Chaplin wind farm project, utilizing 77 wind turbines generating 177 MW of power at a cost of $340 million.

The project is slated to be completed by the end of 2016. Toronto-based Algonquin owns seven operating wind farms across North America.

Increasing the use of wind energy in Saskatchewan will help provide competitive, stable prices, while reducing emissions and diversifying the province’s electricity supply, said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association.

“Wind energy has rapidly become one of the lowest cost options for new electricity generation, and we applaud SaskPower’s efforts to take advantage of its world-class wind resource,” Hornung said in a statement.

The Saskatchewan Environmental Society also praised SaskPower’s efforts to expand its wind power capacity. “They’re starting to move in the right direction,’’ said Peter Prebble, director of environmental policy for the society. “We’d like to see them go further.’’

Prebble noted that U.S. states, like South Dakota and Iowa, are generating 25 per cent of their power from wind.

“Southern Saskatchewan has an excellent wind regime and the economics of wind power are attractive,’’ Prebble said. “Over the course of the next decade, wind power could readily be increased to 20 per cent of total electricity production in Saskatchewan.”

bjohnstone@leaderpost.com

Published Wednesday, March 11, 2015 10:01 PM by Kang Kim

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