SaskPower is working at reaching their goal of seeing 50% percent of it's power generation come from renewable sources up from 25%.
"Our first target is around emission reduction," explained Doug Opseth, SaskPower's Director of Generation asset management. "Back in 2015, we set a target of significantly reducing our emissions by 2030 going down to 40% below our 2005 levels. And to do that we're going to be adding a lot of renewable on the system. We're going from about 25% renewables today to about 50% renewables by 2030. A lot of that renewable generation is going to come from wind power. We are also adding things like solar power."
"In addition to that, we are building things like combined cycle natural gas, which isn't renewable but it does help provide the stability to help back up all the renewable generation that we're going to add in the future."
Opseth noted that in making the push to renewable generation, it doesn't mean that they will cut out coal.
"I think right now we're evaluating all our technologies including coal with CCS. Where we are right now, about 75% of our generation comes from a mix of natural gas and coal fired generation. And as we go to the future, even though the percentage of things like nonrenewable generation, this would be things like coal and natural gas in our system, is decreasing as a percentage of our total generation, the amount of megawatts that are coming potentially from those types of generation is actually increasing just because our loads are increasing in the future."
"Coal with carbon capture is still something we are evaluating right now. But there is always going to be a need for baseload generation in Saskatchewan. Right now our baseload generation comes from a combination of coal and natural gas and when we get up to 2030, we're still going to require baseload generation. We still require types of generation that will be there when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing. And the nice thing about renewable generation is that it doesn't have emissions with it but the one bad side about renewable generation is that you can't control when it's going to operate and that's where we have things like coal and natural gas to help provide that backup."
"I think we're still going through the process of evaluating all our coal fleets just like we do for all of our generation to evaluate what we're going to do with those facilities going forward in the future."
He did share that there is a possibility of wind and solar power in the future for southeast Saskatchewan.
"Certainly we're looking at that. When you look at solar generation, Saskatchewan is one of the best places in Canada for solar power generation and one of the best cities in Saskatchewan for solar generation is the Estevan area. It's got lots of sunlight so it would make a great spot for potential solar generation in the future. And doing solar power generation in the future down there, doesn't mean we're not going to continue to do coal fired generation down there."
"We have two RFPs (request for proposal) out right now. On is out for solar power generation and one is out for wind power generation. The way we're getting this type of renewable generation is going through competitive process so it really will be up the private sector IPPs or independent power producers to choose a location for their facilities. So that's how we're procuring that type of generation."