Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SaskPower budgets $5 billion CAD in Power Purchase Agreements in the next 10 years to meet demand in Saskatchewan

"SaskPower, over the next 10 years, has huge growth that is required to keep up with the economy," SaskPower CEO Robert Watson told an audience at a luncheon put on by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

Mr. Watson said the province needs to add one third to one half more power production in the next 10 years. To do that, SaskPower plans to spend $10 billion dollars on their own generation plus another $5 billion in power purchase agreements.

"We don't plan on growing this business with more employees at SaskPower," he said. "We plan on using partners."

Mr. Watson cited agreements such as a recent deal with the Meadow Lake Tribal Council to buy power from their biomass facility as a prime example of what can be done in the future.

"SaskPower cannot be the way we were in the past," Mr. Watson said, adding they are in the process of building a comprehensive aboriginal plan.

"It is a direct focus of my office to have a better relationship with the aboriginal communities in this province. We want to work with (First Nations) closer," Mr. Watson said, "particularly, projects in their territories or traditional lands."

Mr. Watson said SaskPower is looking to take a balanced approach in generating power through a number of means - coal, hydro, natural gas, wind, solar, cogeneration, biomass and possibly even nuclear.

"We are looking at the possibility of nuclear, but we are just now opening the file on that," Watson said. "It will take us three to five years to even come forward with a recommendation."

Source: (in part) The StarPhoneix, November 30, 2011 edition

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