Getting on board with a local wind power initiative poses too much risk for the city, according to Saskatoon officials.
Saskatoon Community Wind has proposed a $43-million 10-turbine wind farm outside the city that, according to proponents, could power thousands of homes within the city limits. But after months of discussion, city councillors said the project’s future is too uncertain to warrant any civic investment.
“There hasn’t been investment, there hasn’t been money put into it, and that is based on that cost-benefit analysis,” Coun. Charlie Clark told a meeting of council’s planning and operations committee Tuesday. Right now it’s difficult for the city to buy power from a third party, and SaskPower’s high transmission and connection charges make the economics doubtful.
James Glennie, president of Saskatoon Community Wind, had asked city council to fund a $40,000 feasibility study for the project.
But councillors and city officials say the risk on that kind of investment is just too high, since SaskPower has not given any indication that it will change its tariff structure.
In order to provide power to homeowners in Saskatoon, Community Wind could sell electricity to Saskatoon Light and Power using SaskPower’s transmission system. However, the city has no control over the price SaskPower charges for that transmission on projects existing outside the city.Without that control, there is not much the city can do to help the project along, the committee heard.
“The city’s position has been interpreted as an unwillingness to engage on the issue, and I don’t think that’s the case,” Coun. Mairin Loewen said.
Glennie said SaskPower is doing a review of wind power projects in the province and he hopes his project will be considered after that review is done.
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