Four Saskatchewan communities have been selected by SaskPower to participate in a fiveyear, $2-million demonstration project to test the viability of using wind turbines to partially power community owned ice rinks
Central Butte, Eatonia, Shaunavon and Strasbourg were chosen out of 150 communities, 79 of which submitted proposals under SaskPower’s self-generated electricity demonstration project for rinks.
“By late summer, wind turbines more than 100 feet tall will be operating near the rinks in your four communities,” Rob Norris, minister responsible for SaskPower, told a news conference at the Legislative Building Wednesday
“The turbines will help SaskPower to determine how selfgenerated electricity can offset power bills at municipal rinks and other public facilities.”
Norris said the initiative is part of SaskPower’s plan to double Saskatchewan’s wind power capacity to more than 400 megawatts or 8.5 per cent of its total generating capacity, which would be one of the highest percentages in Canada. It’s also part of SaskPower’s plan to reduce energy consumption by 100 megawatts by 2017.
“SaskPower shares this desire by working to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, boost renewable energy production and encourage energy conservation, while continuing to provide safe, affordable and reliable power to people right across the province,” Norris said.
SaskPower president and CEO Robert Watson said the four communities chosen for the demonstration project are from parts of the province that have wind regimes ranging from “very good” to “not so good.”
“We want to prove up the economics (of wind power),” Watson said. “We know wind works and we know the economics. It’s just whether economics work for the rinks themselves.”
The 50-kilowatt wind turbines will generate between $4,500 to $10,000 a year worth of power, depending on the wind resources at the site When surplus power is produced, it will be put on the electrical grid and measured through ënet metering.”
SaskPower will cover the $1.9 million capital cost of the project, including purchase, installation and maintenance costs for the first five years. After that, the estimated $2,500 annual maintenance cost will be the responsibility of the municipality.
Watson said the project will help communities and SaskPower reduce costs and energy consumption.”Anywhere we can get people to self-generate power or use less power is good for us.”
Sharon Dickie, mayor of Shaunavon, said the annual electricity bill at the southwest community’s ice arena is in the area of $35,000 to $40,000. “It’s significant,” Dickie said.
With the opening of the community’s new Crescent Point Wickenheiser Centre in July, the wind turbine will “go hand in hand with us trying to sustain an energy-efficient arena,” she added. “We use it 12 months of the year.”
Dickie said wind energy was initially considered for the facility, but rejected as too expensive
“Four years ago, we looked at wind power, but it wasn’t a viable project. But having this opportunity that SaskPower and the provincial government are presenting it to us, we’re pretty excited about it.”
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