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Thursday, 28 June 2012 09:35

Swift Current a proposed site for new electrical generation project

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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A site west of Swift Current is one of four options under consideration for a proposed new combined cycle gas turbine facility that will help SaskPower to meet future electrical demands in the province.

An open house to gather input from the public on the proposed new electrical generation project took place at the Credit Union iplex auditorium in Swift Current June 20.
Members of the SaskPower project team were present to provide more detail about the proposed facility and to answer questions.
Bernie Bolen, who is SaskPower’s environmental issues management supervisor, said they are still in the early planning phase for the project.
“We’re currently doing evaluations on four different sites in the southern part of the province just to determine whether or not they’re feasible sites to add some natural gas generation close to those sites,” he noted.
All four sites are existing SaskPower switching stations with the associated transmission networks linked to such operations. The Swift Current area switching station is located about eight kilometres west of the city along the Trans-Canada Highway.
The other three switching stations are located northwest of Regina at Condie, southeast of Regina at Peebles and southeast of Saskatoon at Wolverine.
“By adding some generation and using natural gas type turbines, you’re able to support those switching stations and give them extra capability to provide service to that surrounding area,” he said.
The results from the public consultation process and additional studies to investigate various site selection criteria will be used to determine the most suitable location for the proposed gas turbine facility.
“This is really just the introduction of the project into those four areas,” Bolen said. “For us to be able to evaluate the viability of the site, we need to know as much about it as we can, so we appreciate any information that we can collect from the open houses.”
Each site will be assessed to determine the availability and cost of the fuel supply infrastructure in the area and the ease with which the site can be connected to the transmission grid.
In addition, the four sites will be evaluated to determine the availability of water for a combined cycle gas plant, the environmental impacts of the project, constructability within the site area and the accessibility of each site location.
According to Bolen the gas facility’s physical footprint will be between 10 and 20 acres. The three to four year construction period will create employment for 200 to 300 people and full-time employment for 20 to 30 people during the operational phase. The project is still in the pre-planning phase, which means construction will only start after about five years.
The Crown corporation is operating six natural gas facilities and another one is currently under construction at North Battleford. It also purchases power from a number of privately operated gas turbine facilities in Saskatchewan.
“SaskPower is not only trying to keep up with some of our old infrastructure that’s deteriorating due to age, we also need to meet increasing load growth and we’re seeing that load growth in all sectors,” Bolen said.
Electricity use in Saskatchewan is expected to increase by 2.9 per cent each year over the next decade. SaskPower has committed to 1,775 megawatts of power generation from 2008 to 2017 and it will consider options such as natural gas, biomass, wind and demand side management to meet the province's growing power needs.

Read 3642 times Last modified on Thursday, 28 June 2012 09:38