Wind proponents want to sell power to City of Saskatoon

Saskatoon Community Wind wants to gauge public support for a ten-turbine wind farm that would sell electricity to the city's power utility.

Holding public meeting Thursday night

A public meeting will be held at the Saskatoon Farmer's Market tonight, to hear public input on where 10 wind turbines could be located. (Jeff Aramini)

A group of Saskatoon residents is convinced the answer to Saskatoon's electrical needs is blowing in the wind.

Currently, Saskatoon Light & Power buys bulk electricity from SaskPower, which uses a variety of generation methods.

"You know most of us don't really ever think about the idea of having a choice in terms of where our power comes from," said Rene Prefontaine, who works at the Two Twenty in Riversdale. "When I look at the project, that's what I see. I see an ability to choose where my power comes from."

Riversdale-area business manager Rene Prefontaine says he'd prefer to use more wind-generated electricity. (CBC)
Right now, most of Saskatoon's electricity comes from natural gas generators at the Queen Elizabeth Power Station. Overall, 49 per cent of SaskPower's electricity comes from coal-fired power plants. Another 32 per cent is generated by natural gas. The remainder is a mix of hydroelectricity, wind power, and imported electricity from out of province.

Members of Saskatoon Community Wind say over the past decade, the economics behind wind generators have improved. They say if the City of Saskatoon agrees to buy wind electricity from their turbines at the same rate it pays SaskPower, their project would not require any subsidies.

They also say if the rate remains the same, electrical bills for Saskatoon Light & Power customers would not increase dramatically.

"It's a great opportunity for people to really take a role in deciding their energy future and where their electricity comes from," said James Glennie, the project leader.

Saskatoon Community Wind organizer James Glennie says the project will not go ahead unless Saskatoon Light & Power agrees to buy wind electricity. (CBC)

Glennie comes from a finance background and has spent more than a decade working on wind energy projects in other countries. 

He envisions a ten-turbine wind farm, located within 30 kilometres of Saskatoon. A location has yet to be determined.

Members of the group will hold a public meeting Thursday night, to gauge support for the idea and to discuss potential locations for the turbines. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. CST at the Farmers' Market in Riversdale.

"I would urge everyone to just get involved," Glennie said. "Get on down to this public meeting and see what it's all about and let us know how they'd like this whole project to develop."