Saskatchewan government to add another 100 MW of wind power

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The Saskatchewan government says it wants to add another 100 MW of wind power to the Prairie province's electricity grid by 2012. The target is part of a package of initiatives designed to meet electricity demand from 2010-2014. The centrepiece of the plan is the addition of up to 400 MW of simple cycle natural gas turbines over the next five years at a cost of approximately C$525 million, installations that the government says will "position the electricity grid" for more wind and other renewable generation. "These natural gas units are very attractive given their relatively low capital cost, and they can be started and stopped to support the availability of wind generation," says John Nilson, the government minister responsible for SaskPower, a government-owned monopoly utility. "This positions us well for the growth of wind power in Saskatchewan, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions." All new generation in the province will either be emissions-free or fully offset by emissions credits. In addition to new wind and gas-fired generation, Saskatchewan wants to add 50 MW of waste heat recovery projects and 20 MW of biomass by 2010 as well as reduce electricity demand by 300 MW by 2017. It also plans to introduce a net metering program, allowing home generation fed into the grid to offset the owner's consumption from the grid. Details of the various initiatives will be announced in the coming months. Saskatchewan currently has 171 MW of wind, about 5% of the total capacity of its mostly fossil fuel-fired power system.

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