Saskatchewan denies permit for Chaplin Wind and issues new guidelines for wind projects

The government of Saskatchewan denied a permit for a 177-MW wind power facility proposed by Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp.  The project was proposed for the Chaplin area, about 200 km west of Regina in the southwest corner of the province.  The key rationale for denying the permit was  the danger posed to migratory birds.  The Chaplin area is home to a shorebird sanctuary and is a major migratory route.  Algonquin was initially awarded a contract in 2012 for the facility under an RFP held by SaskPower, and has stated that it will now be seeking to find an alternative site for the development.

The Chaplin Wind Project was rejected after being the first to undergo a provincial environmental assessment.  The provincial government has also released new guidelines for the location of wind power projects. Wind farms will have to be located more than five kilometers from environmentally sensitive areas like parks, ecological reserves and some of the province’s biggest rivers.  In effect, the province has developed an exclusion zone that highlights areas wind cannot be developed, but locating outside the exclusion zone does not negate the requirement to undergo site assessments but is intended to streamline the approval process.

The development of clear siting guidelines for Saskatchewan wind projects is of particular importance given the ambitious goals the province has announced.  The province is expected to put out an RFP for about 200 MW of wind capacity in early 2017, and by 2030 expects to add about 1,600 MW to 1,800 MW of wind capacity by 2030.  These totals are incremental to the Algonquin facility.

Power Advisory would welcome the opportunity to assist clients evaluate opportunities offered by participating in SaskPower’s forthcoming Wind RFP.  We offer a broad understanding of Saskatchewan’s electricity sector and critical success factors in power supply RFPs.