SaskPower’s latest project—the Great Plains Power Station—which will provide reliable power to about 360,000 homes in Saskatchewan upon completion in 2024, is already providing power to the province’s economy, providing opportunities for local companies and creating up to 500 jobs.
As of March, 2022, work is continuing on the Great Plains Power Station, southeast of Moose Jaw in conjunction with provincial, municipal, and Indigenous governments. Situated in Moose Jaw’s Agri-Food Industrial Park, the station will provide 360 megawatts of power through natural gas power generation. Incredibly, this is the addition to the provincial power grid for enough power for another city the size of Saskatoon.
REDUCING GHG EMISSIONS
SaskPower has located the Great Plains Power Station in a central position in its strategy for supplying affordable power and supporting the integration of renewables into the grid. Natural gas generation is currently Saskatchewan’s single largest source of power, accounting for 2,160 MW of the province’s total available capacity of 5,010 MW. At 360 MW, it will be very similar to the Chinook Power Plant in Swift Current, which is currently the province’s second-largest natural gas-fired power station.
“Great Plains is an important part of SaskPower’s plans to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and continue to provide reliable, cost-effective power to our customers,” says Joel Cherry, SaskPower spokesperson. “As a natural gas power station, it will bring 360 megawatts (MW) of reliable 24/7 baseload to support emission-free generation options, like wind and solar.”
SaskPower is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and is considering ways to further reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050, says Cherry. “To get there, we need more renewable and lower-emitting generation in our power system. Natural gas is a bridging technology to transition from conventional coal to an emissions-free future. Natural gas generates less than half the emissions of a coal facility. We also require it to add more renewable sources like wind and solar. These aren’t available 24/7 and must be balanced with other sources that are always available, like natural gas.”
POWERING THE ECONOMY
In addition to providing reliable baseload power, the project itself will create benefits for the local and regional economy. “On the Chinook Power Station in Swift Current, we awarded $140 million locally with over $10 million to Indigenous contracts, labour and subcontracts, and we are on track to significantly improve on those successes with Great Plains,” says Cherry.
Burns & McDonnell, who have designed or constructed more than 70 natural gas power plants throughout North America were chosen for the engineering, procurement, and construction of the 360-MW, combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT). Hiring local and indigenous companies and workers as sub-contractors and labor on the project has been prioritized.
Positive economic benefits are anticipated for the Moose Jaw area with construction expected to peak in late 2022/early 2023 at 500 people. To date, more than 90 per cent of individuals working on the project are from Saskatchewan, and nearly a quarter are from Moose Jaw.
For the longer term, the Great Plains Power Station in Moose Jaw will require 25 full-time positions to support operations of the facility. To date, six positions are supporting the project and preparing for operations. Since the start of construction in March 2021, work has been undertaken on piling, foundations, underground installations, and structural steel.
Thus far the project has resulted in over $45 million in participation from local companies, contractors, and workers, which includes $9 million in Indigenous participation to date. This spring, major equipment will begin to arrive to site. SaskPower expects the power station to be completed and in-service by 2024.
“The Chinook Power Station Project in Swift Current included a substantial amount of community involvement and included an economic stimulus that was anticipated to have a lasting impact on the community,” says Cherry. “We expect similar benefits for the Moose Jaw area.”
For more information, please visit www.saskpower.com