Saskatoon

New wind farm near Assiniboia, Sask., to double province's wind energy production

Potentia Renewables is paying to build 50 wind turbines near Assiniboia, with the province slated to buy the resulting electricity.

The 50 wind turbines are expected to produce 200 megawatts of power

Fifty wind turbines will soon dot the sky near Assiniboia, Sask. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Ground has been broken on a new wind farm near Assiniboia, Sask.

Scheduled to be up and running in 2021, the $325-million Golden South Wind Energy Facility is expected to produce 200 megawatts of wind energy.

That will almost double the amount of wind energy the province produces.

Potentia Renewables is paying to build the turbines, with the province slated to buy the resulting electricity.

"To the local community it is a pretty significant economic engine for the next generation," said Potentia chief executive officer Jeff Jenner.

Jenner said each permanent magnet direct drive turbine will have 65 to 75 metre blades and stand on 110 metre towers.

Each will be capable of producing about 4.2 megawatts of energy at a cost of less than 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

Potentia Renewables chief executive officer Jeff Jenner. (CBC News)

"So all Saskatchewan residents benefit from really low-cost, renewable energy," Jenner said.

SaskPower is trying to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent over the next decade.

The wind farm will be able to power 90-thousand homes, according to SaskPower CEO Mike Marsh.

It should eliminate around 500,000 tonnes of carbon from the electricity grid (equivalent to eliminating the pollution from half the vehicles in Regina or Saskatoon).

There is another reason why the Crown Corporation is adding more wind power.

"We're obligated under current federal regulations to be retiring two of our coal fleet generating stations, one in 2021, one by 2024," Marsh said. "So, a lot of the energy that those plants produce will be picked up by wind."

The site where 50 wind turbines are slated to be built near Assiniboia, Sask. (CBC News)

More than 200 people are expected to be employed during the construction phase over the next year.

The finished facility is anticipated to need 10 full-time employees.

"This is going to be a great project for the region and a great project for renewable energy and Saskatchewan," Jenner said.

Potentia, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Power Corporation of Canada, has recently won three other contracts in Western Canada and has assets across North America and the Caribbean.

Assiniboia is about 130 kilometres southwest of Regina.

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