Last week, SaskPower, the provincial electricity production corporation for Saskatchewan, initiated a procurement process for 200 MW of wind energy for a fixed term of 25 years. The request for qualifications phase has begun and will be followed by a request for proposals later this year.
Saskatchewan has set a target to reduce 40 % of its greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels and to ensure that half of all electricity generated in the province originates from renewable sources by 2030. SaskPower seeks to procure new sources of energy through a competitive bidding process, as was the case for the block of 10 MW of solar energy launched in September 2016, the winning project for which should soon be announced.
The current request for qualifications for wind energy projects will close on May 2, 2017. This step will be followed in mid-May 2017 by a request for proposals in which only projects from a maximum of 8 qualified proponents will be considered for a 25-year power purchase agreement. The winning projects are anticipated to be selected by the end of the year and the expected in-service dates for such projects should be no later than April 30, 2020. Up to 2 submissions per proponent will be allowed.
At the qualification stage, a proponent’s eligibility is subject to minimum thresholds regarding its level of experience with utility-scale wind projects, financial capacity and equity. At the proposals stage, past and contemplated community engagement, First Nations participation and the proposed site, price and availability of interconnection of each project will be evaluated. A project compliance with the Wildlife Siting Guidelines for Saskatchewan Wing Energy Projects, issued on September 19, 2016 by the Ministry of Environment and Community Sustainability, will also be taken into consideration for the proposed site.
SaskPower will hold a conference call on February 28, 2017 to provide information on its expectations and intentions for the current wind energy procurement.
In addition to the wind energy procurement, 60 MW of utility-scale solar generation will be solicited by 2021 and SaskPower plans to increase its wind energy capacity by 1880 MW by 2030. SaskPower estimates that a natural gas plant will also be needed in Saskatchewan by 2022 in order to meet the province’s growing demand for energy. The plant is estimated to have a generating capacity of between 350 and 700 MW and consultations are currently being held to determine where the plant will be located. An unsolicited power proposal program also exists for renewable energy projects that fall outside of existing or upcoming SaskPower programs or solicitation.