Wind Power to make larger impact in Sask.

Sask Power

author: kristian ferguson |news editor

Sask Power

Are wind turbines this province’s future?/Michael Janke via flickr

SaskPower looking to add more wind power by 2030

With ever-growing concerns about the environment and sustainability, SaskPower is looking at ways in which it can help.

SaskPower is looking to add 77 wind turbines by 2020 to its arsenal of power generation. The sight of the new turbines will be between Herbert and Neidpath in the Blue Hills area of the province.

This retinue of turbines is expected to produce 10 per cent of Saskatchewan’s power by the time they are fully operational.

Wind energy can provide many benefits, not only as an energy producer but socially and economically as well. Turbines are typically very cheap to build and even cheaper to maintain. Wind energy is functionally infinite and requires nothing on SaskPower’s end to produce, manufacture, or ship; the wind comes to them. The new energy sector would create meaningful jobs in the maintenance and construction of the new turbines.

With all of its positives, wind energy and turbines are not without their opponents. Some of the farmers who have been approached to lease their land for the new wind turbines are, rightfully, concerned with factors such as noise or simply the aesthetics of the wind turbines on their property.

Some people raise issue with the proposed wind turbines, as the turbines themselves create lots of division. The original site for the turbines, closer to Swift Current, was denied due to it being too close to a migratory bird path. Some fear that the 77 turbines could damage potentially delicate species of birds.

Others are concerned with the reliability of the turbines, with SaskPower making note of this. On the SaskPower website, it states that “wind is intermittent and can’t generate electricity when it’s too cold or too windy”.

SaskPower currently generates most of its power from coal and natural gas plants. Between those two, 76 percent of Saskatchewan’s power comes from non-renewable resources. This is by no means uncommon in North America, however.

Alternative sources to these, such as hydro, are employed in Saskatchewan as well, with hydro making up about 11 per cent of Saskatchewan’s power. Most of the other options, solar and geothermal especially, are barely applied at all in Saskatchewan. SaskPower does have a program in place for those who wish to power their home or their business with solar energy, though.

The movement toward wind power falls in line with the sentiments of many in the current era, that the reliance on non-renewable resources is not only unsustainable, but also ultimately damaging to the environment. The future of a greener, less damaging power grid is very much on the horizon but there is still a long time before the benefits can be reaped.

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