SaskWind calls it quits, cites lack of support from provincial government

After four years, SaskWind is calling it quits — and expressing frustration with how it was treated by the provincial government.

Company wanted to see windpower project built at Swift Current

SaskWind, a company promoting community-owned wind projects in the province, says it is ceasing operations. (CBC)

After four years, SaskWind is calling it quits — and expressing frustration with how it was treated by the provincial government.

The company had proposed a community-owned wind project for Swift Current.

But it said the provincial government and its power company, SaskPower, never did seem all that interested in the idea.

"We've found essentially the door has been closed every step of the way," said James Glennie, president of SaskWind.

Glennie says the final straw for him came Friday, when the federal government decided to pass on an environmental assessment of a $700 million natural-gas fired power plant in Swift Current.

Glennie says not only would wind have avoided the greenhouse gas emissions of natural gas, but it would have created more jobs as well.

Instead, Glennie says SaskPower was looking for the cheapest power — which means big companies from outside the province, rather than homegrown startups.

A spokesperson for SaskPower says the utility is committed to getting half Saskatchewan's power from wind and other renewable sources by 2030.

It's also important to get reliable power at the lowest cost to its customers, the company says.

Glennie says that is ironic given the cost of SaskPower's carbon capture and storage plant at Boundary Dam which the public has subsidized. 

But he agrees that wind is now seen as a major part of the province's electrical future compared to just a few years ago.

"We've seen a fundamental shift. And that shift is really recognition that wind is technically viable, it's economically viable and we do have a world class resource here," Glennie said.