SaskPower to build Swift Current, Sask., natural gas power plant

SaskPower will build and operate a new natural gas power plant in Swift Current, Sask., which is set to launch in 2019.

Facility is set to launch in October 2019

SaskPower president Mike Marsh speaks to reporters about the new natural gas power plant being built at Swift Current, Sask. (Adam Hunter/CBC)

SaskPower will build and operate a new natural gas power plant in Swift Current, Sask., which is set to launch in 2019. 

The Crown Investments Corporation, which is the holding company for the province's Crown corporations, chose SaskPower for the job through an evaluation process aimed at getting the best value for ratepayers. 

The process examined Independent Power Producer proposals and compared the highest ranked IPP against the SaskPower proposal.

SaskPower has been selected to build a natural gas power facility at Swift Current, Sask. (Arielle Zerr/CBC)

The details

SaskPower president Mike Marsh said the project at Swift Current, about 240 kilometres west of Regina, will be a combined-cycle natural gas facility. 

The cost was originally budgeted at about $700 million, but Marsh said it would be less. 

"It will have one gas turbine and one steam turbine and that combination will result in the lowest possible emissions and the highest efficiency for fuel conversion, really in the gas industry today," he said.  

"We're optimistic that the right choice has been made in terms of the equipment as we again look to add significant base load capacity."

Winds of change 

According to Marsh, the completed plant will also act as a support for future wind power projects. 

"We need this gas anyway just to keep up with the demand in the province and that allows us to move forward with our wind program in a very responsible way."

According to the province, a fairness monitor was engaged to oversee the process and ensure the evaluation criteria were followed.

SaskPower also recently allocated $525 million to upgrade its Queen Elizabeth Power Station near Saskatoon, meaning a significant increase in electrical output and a downgrade for coal.  

That project modernized three gas turbines, making them more efficient, adding enough generation to power more than 200,000 homes.