A renewable energy farm on the Cowessess First Nation east of Regina is being hailed as the first of its kind.
The Cowessess Renewable Energy Storage Facility already includes a wind turbine and battery but now also features an array of solar panels — making it the first utility-scale, solar-wind hybrid power storage project in the country.
According to Delorme, investments in clean energy like this one are vital in light of a recent UN report on climate change that says the planet is at dire risk of disaster if actions aren’t taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“This report that just came out the other day shows we have to be very serious about it, we have to play our part,” Delorme told reporters after a ceremony Wednesday morning.
Power generated by the facility will be sold back to SaskPower’s electricity grid. The crown corporation has set a target of 50 per cent renewable energy production by 2030.
The Calgary-based company SkyFire was hired to install the solar panels and its Chief Operating Officer David Vonesch said the facility is capable of producing 560,000 kilowatt hours in a year — enough to power about 80 homes for a year.
Vonesch said he wants to see others follow the community’s example.
“My hope is others will see this example … and say, ‘Hey, if Cowessess First Nation can do it, we can do it,’” Vonesch said. “We’ll see larger projects, more people and businesses and First Nations begin to invest in this technology.”
As well, he said as part of the company’s commitment to the 92nd call to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, SkyFire hired members of the First Nation community during construction.
Delorme said workers will be needed to run the facility.
“We need engineers. We need scientists. We need our citizens to go to post-secondary and exercise their treaty right to education so that we can build capacity and have our own people running these on a day to day,” he said.