Western Lily Wind Power Facility at Grenfell on July 7, 2023. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

Wind power in Alberta was pretty low for much of last week, often in the 100 to 200 megawatt range despite an installed based of 3,731 megawatts across now 37 wind farms, comprised of hundreds of wind turbines costing billions of dollar. But at 11:33 a.m. on Saturday, June 9, wind power production fell to 19 megawatts, or 0.5 per cent capacity.

That’s according to Twitter bot account @ReliableAB, which posts hourly updates on Alberta’s power grid based on minute-by-minute data published by the Alberta Electric System Operator.

Saskatchewan also saw wind power diminish late last week. According to SaskPower’s Where does Your Power Come From web page, on July 7, SaskPower’s installed base of 617 megawatts of wind power generated an average of 33 megawatts, or 5.3 per cent of nameplate capacity.

 

SaskPower’s numbers are based on a 24 hour average, as the Crown corporation does not provide anywhere close to the granular detail the AESO does. SaskPower also delays its reporting by two days. But an average of 33 megawatts means that there were times on July 7 that wind power production was both above, and below, 33 megawatts.

On June 29, federal Minister of Natural Resources announced a $50 million contribution on behalf of Cowessess First Nation for a 200 megawatt nameplate capacity windfarm near Kipling. That project, with 36 wind turbines, will be built over the next two years. It will be known as the Bekevar Yōtin Wind Facility.

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At the sod turning, SaskPower president and CEO Rupen Pandya, said, “The Bekevar Wind Facility is an important project that showcases the value of partnership, collaboration and shared commitment to creating a sustainable future. And the future is top of mind at SaskPower.

“Right now, we’re in the midst of an energy transition that is underway across the globe, with the shift to low carbon and renewable energy production. And this transition is the most profound transition that this company has faced in the last 100 years, and I would argue probably the electricity industry in this country has faced in the last 150 years.

“This transition will require SaskPower to evolve into a different kind of power company. And SaskPower is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across our power system and decarbonizing power as quickly as possible. Investment in renewable power generation such as wind and solar is an important part of reaching net-zero. And we’re on track to meeting this commitment. We plan to add 3,000 megawatts of wind and solar generation by 2035 into our grid. Currently Saskatchewan’s power mix includes about 5,400 megawatts of capacity, and wind generation currently includes is 600 megawatts of that generation making up about 11 per cent of our capacity.

SaskPower CEO Rupen Pandya at the Bekevar Yotin Wind Facility, near Kipling, on June 29. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

 

“The Bekevar Wind Facility will add another 200 megawatts on its own, and this facility will supply enough renewable power to power 100,000 homes, on average.

“To bring this power into the province’s power grid, SaskPower will also be building a 10 Kilometer power line to connect the Bekevar Wind Facility. This linear line will run from the Kennedy switching station that’s located east of this location, and it’ll connect at this location.”

Pandya noted, “In 2022, SaskPower integrated 422 megawatts of renewables into our grid, that is the largest integration of renewables in this province’s history. And last fall, we announced that we would be adding an additional 700 megawatts of renewable generation in the provinces south central area, and this new capacity will include 400 megawatts of wind, and an additional 300 megawatts of solar.

“And we’re starting the competitive process for some of that this summer. We hope to issue RFPs this July, and have that power in production by 2027.

“Our mission as a company is to provide reliable, sustainable, and cost effective power. And everything we do will always remain focused on those three pillars.

“As SaskPower works to meet the growing demand for electricity, we must convert the majority of our generation capacity, the capacity that has taken us over 100 years to build, to carbon-neutral or non-emitting sources of generation. And as the rest of the province decarbonize and increasingly relies on SaskPower, through the electrification of transportation, heating and industrial processes, our role will become more critical.”

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Kipling area Bekevar Yōtin Wind Facility turns sod, gets $50 million from feds, money that came from Saskatchewan businesses via output based pricing