SaskPower has taken another step towards increasing the province’s renewable electricity.
On Monday, the Crown corporation announced it completed negotiations on a new term sheet with Manitoba Hydro to buy 215 megawatts (MW) of hydroelectric power.
“We’re looking at cleaner ways to generate electricity,” said Doug Opseth, SaskPower’s director of generation asset management. “This is one more project that helps us meet those commitments to bring those emissions down.”
Once a final legal contract for the sale is signed in mid-2019, the constant hydro power buying is expected to begin in 2022. From there, the purchase is anticipated to provide clean, reliable energy to Saskatchewan for up to 30 years.
According to Opseth, hydroelectricity is comparable to combined cycle natural gas power, like what will be generated at SaskPower’s Chinook Power Station once it’s complete, but with added benefits.
“It’s a long-term project, it doesn’t come with the natural gas price risk and it has zero emissions,” he listed.
With federal regulations mandating conventional coal be retired by 2030, Opseth said buying this hydroelectricity is another way of diversifying the province’s power alternative, in addition to wind and solar power.
To date, he noted, hydroelectricity makes up approximately 20 per cent of Saskatchewan’s power generation, but that number is expected to climb after the sale.
SaskPower already has two power purchase agreements with Manitoba Hydro: a 25 MW agreement lasting until 2022, and a 20-year agreement for 100 MW that comes into effect in 2020.