Sask. government approves wind turbine project near Herbert

Some new wind turbines are coming to Saskatchewan in three years, if all goes according to plan.

Project plans for 56 wind turbines to provide a combined 177 megawatts

As many as 56 wind turbines could be up and running by 2021. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Some new wind turbines are coming to Saskatchewan in three years, if all goes according to plan.

The province announced on Thursday that it approved a project which would see 56 wind turbines built in the Herbert area.

Once up and running, the Blue Hill Wind Energy Project would provide 177 megawatts of energy for SaskPower customers, enough to power about 70,000 homes.

It'll be developed by Algonquin Power Co. The company had earlier planned to build a wind power project in Chaplin, Sask., but the government rejected that original site near a shorebird habitat.  

Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said that the government has learned from that initial roadblock. 

"I think going forward we are going to be able to do better on the timelines because of what we learned through this process," he said. "Obviously putting a wind project in the path of a major migratory bird pathway is probably not the best idea."

He said the Government of Saskatchewan now has clearer guidelines on choosing sites to put wind farms. Those guidelines, he said, show that 75 per cent of southern Saskatchewan could potentially work for a wind farm. 

Both Duncan and the company say that ongoing monitoring will be done to assess the impact of the wind farms on bird and bat populations. 

Construction is projected to begin in 2019 with the project possibly going into service in 2021, Duncan said. He said there would likely be another round of requests over the next year, with SaskPower continuing to bring additional wind resources online to help the province reach its goal of reducing emissions by 40 per cent by 2030, without a carbon tax.

When the project is underway, crews will avoid "sensitive areas" when project infrastructure is built or erecting temporary workspaces, the release said. 

Herbert is 185 kilometres southwest of Regina.


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