SaskPower has entered the request for proposals (RFP) phase of its competitive process seeking a 200 MW utility-scale wind project.
According to the Saskatchewan utility, eight of the 23 independent power producers that entered the request for qualification (RFQ) phase have qualified to move to the RFP phase and have been invited to submit proposals for the competition.
“Wind power will play a key role in Saskatchewan’s electricity future,” comments Guy Bruce, SaskPower’s vice president of special projects. “As of today, wind makes up a total of five percent of our available generating capacity. We plan to increase this to 30 percent by 2030, and this project is one way we will reach our goal.”
Overall, SaskPower plans to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions by approximately 40% from 2005 levels by 2030. In addition, the project will contribute to SaskPower’s long-term plan to double the percentage of renewable generating capacity in the province.
Speaking on the RFP, Evan Wilson, regional director for the Prairies at the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), says in a congratulatory statement, “The utility worked closely with stakeholders to design a competitive process that takes advantage of the falling cost of wind energy and allows our members to deliver clean, reliable and affordable power to the province’s ratepayers. Saskatchewan has some of the best wind resources in Canada, and we expect this RFP to yield low-priced wind energy that competes on cost with current electricity generation in the province.”
The competition is being conducted through a two-stage process. In February, SaskPower issued an RFQ to identify independent power producers. Qualified proponents will have until May 25, 2018, to submit their proposals, including choosing their own sites to put forward in the competition. SaskPower notes that all proposals will be evaluated equally through an “open, fair and transparent” process. The successful proponent will be announced in fall 2018, and the project – which will generate enough electricity to power 80,000 homes – is expected to be in service in early 2021.
Wilson adds, “As we eagerly anticipate the results of this 200 MW RFP, CanWEA also looks forward to collaborating with SaskPower on future competitions as the utility works towards its goal of adding 1,900 MW of new wind energy capacity to its electricity supply mix by 2030. Meeting that target will increase renewable energy generation capacity to 50 percent, making Saskatchewan a wind energy leader in Canada, and the launch of this first RFP demonstrates that the province is off to a good start.”