Saskatchewan’s public utility has said it has set a goal to generate 50% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030. Installing about 60 MW of utility-scale solar power will help achieve it, but the overall strategy will include geothermal, wind, hydropower, and biomass.
“The province has barely even scratched the surface of their solar energy potential and when they run their competitive procurement, the price discovery will demonstrate the value that solar will bring to rate-payers for decades to come,” explained CanSIA President and CEO John Gorman.
About 20% of the province’s electricity currently comes from hydro power, with only 5% from wind, but the wind portion could double by 2020 due to various wind power projects under development. In other words, getting to 30% renewable energy in the next several years is quite feasible.
So what is the province’s solar power potential? The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) has said this of it, “Saskatchewan’s potential for solar power generation is significantly superior to Germany’s – the country with over 50% of the world’s operating solar technology.”
SaskPower already has a net metering program, so that is helpful, as “Residents, farms and businesses with approved environmentally preferred technologies of up to 100 kilowatts (kW) of nominal (nameplate) generating capacity can deliver their excess electricity to our electrical grid. A bi-directional meter (installed by SaskPower or your local electricity provider) keeps track of the electricity to and from the grid for billing purposes.”
Coal plays a prominent role in generating electricity in Saskatchewan, even though wind power and solar power potentials have been described as considerable. “SaskPower is one of our most important Crown Corporations and has a strong record of customer service. However, depending on the year, between 55 percent and 62 percent of all the electricity supplied in Saskatchewan comes from coal — the worst polluting of the fossil fuels,” wrote Peter Prebble, a former member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.
There doesn’t seem to be any mention of how energy storage might figure into a plan to develop more renewable energy, but using battery systems might help fill in any electricity gaps or reduce reliance on peaker plants.
Image Credit: Saffron Blaze, Wiki Commons