For the last 8 years there has been quite a bit of talk from SaskPower about wind energy studies but not a whole lot of action. Incredibly it looks as though that may be about to change. The first signs appeared at the Canadian Wind Energy Association's 'Western Forum' in Vancouver (27 April).
SaskPower's Brian Mohr presented 'Wind Power Opportunities' - an 8 page PowerPoint with information on their wind energy targets for 2020 and 2030. The key chart from the presentation is this one;
On the face of it this looks like not very much:
10% of capacity by 2020 translates into only 7.1% of electricity which is only 1.5 percentage points more than the 5.6% of wind projects which have already been announced and/or are under construction (see table below for a summary). Reaching that 10% target requires another 100 MW of wind which, in Vancouver, SaskPower implied it would award as a single project.
20% by 2030 is qualified on the slide with "2030 target details TBD" which, given all the obfuscation and delays over the last 8 years or so, is hardly worth a hill of beans.
However the interesting bit of the presentation is the material that was not written down but about which Brian Mohr spoke. (minute 40 of this audio recording).
In summary: in order to fill the 20% by 2030 target, SaskPower announced its intention to hold bids for a further 600 MW of wind.
All of this material, together with existing wind projects, is summarised on this page which contains details of all current wind farms in Saskatchewan + additional volumes planned out to 2030.
At this stage we can't help but refer to the quote in the Star Phoenix in February 2013 from SaskPower's (now departed) CEO;
One assumes that Mr Watson is still alive & well: actually, and after resigning in October following the $50-million smart meter debacle, he has moved to Bermuda.
Back to business: SaskPower advises that there will be more news "later in the spring". Given that Spring officially ends on June 20 - that means 'soon'.
Although these targets are not particularly challenging given the rapid wind growth seen in other jurisdictions in the last 8 years, they are nonetheless notable for the substantial change in SaskPower's direction which they indicate.
One is reminded of this classic from Winston Churchill (admittedly about Americans and not about SaskPower); "Americans Will Always Do the Right Thing — After Exhausting All the Alternatives."
Congratulations to SaskPower for finally accepting the benefits of wind energy as a substantial part of a balanced generation portfolio. We look forward to seeing additional details.
SaskPower's presentation is available here.