SaskPower

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SaskPower
Type Crown Corporation
Industry Electric utility
Founded 1929
Headquarters Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Area served Saskatchewan
Key people Robert Watson, CEO
Products Electricity generation, transmission and distribution
Revenue C$1,862 million (2012)[1]
Increase 1.4% from 2011
Net income C$153 million (2012)[1]
Decrease 38.3% from 2011
Total assets C$7,011 million (2012)[2]
Total equity C$1,858 million (2012)[2]
Owner(s) Province of Saskatchewan
Employees 2,830 (2012)[3]
Parent Crown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan[4]
Subsidiaries NorthPoint Energy Solutions,
SaskPower Shand Greenhouse,
SaskPower International[4]
Website www.saskpower.com

SaskPower is the principal electric utility in Saskatchewan, Canada. Established in 1929 by the provincial government, it serves more than 490,000 customers and manages $7 billion in assets. SaskPower is a major employer in the province with over 2,800 permanent full-time staff located in approximately 70 communities.

Legal status[edit]

SaskPower was founded as the Saskatchewan Power Commission in 1929, becoming the Saskatchewan Power Corporation in 1949. The abbreviated name SaskPower was officially adopted in 1987.

Owned by the government through its holding company, the Crown Investments Corporation, SaskPower is governed by a Board of Directors who are accountable to the provincial government Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Power Corporation.

SaskPower has the exclusive right and the exclusive obligation to supply electricity in the province, except in the city of Swift Current and most of the city of Saskatoon. The Swift Current Department of Light and Power provides electrical services within the municipal boundary of Swift Current.[5] Saskatoon Light & Power provides service to the customers within the 1958 boundaries of Saskatoon while SaskPower has responsibility for areas annexed after 1958.[6]

Customers[edit]

SaskPower serves more than 490,000 customers through more than 151,000 kilometres of power lines throughout the province and covers a service territory that includes Saskatchewan's geographic area of approximately 651,000 km2 (251,000 sq mi). This relatively low customer density means that while most North American electrical utilities supply an average of 12 customers per circuit kilometre, SaskPower supplies about three. In fiscal year 2012, total electricity revenue was $1,736 million (Canadian) on sales of 19,957 gigawatt hours of electricity.

Boundary Dam Power Station

Facilities[edit]

SaskPower has a generating capacity of 3,513 megawatts (MW) from 18 generating facilities, including three coal-fired base load facilities, six natural gas-fired facilities, seven hydroelectric facilities, and two wind power facilities. SaskPower also buys power from Prince Albert Pulp Inc., the Spy Hill Generating Station, the SunBridge Wind Power Project, the Red Lily Wind Project, the Meridian Cogeneration Station, the Cory Cogeneration Station, and the NRGreen Kerrobert, Loreburn, Estlin and Alameda Heat Recovery Projects. Taking into consideration independent power producers, SaskPower's total available generation capacity is 4,104 MW.

Francois Finlay Dam and Nipawin Hydroelectric Station

The SaskPower transmission system utilizes lines carrying 230,000 volts, 138,000 volts and 72,000 volts. SaskPower has interconnections at the Manitoba, Alberta and North Dakota borders.

Rural areas[edit]

Incorporated under The Power Corporation Act (1949), SaskPower purchased the majority of the province’s small, independent municipal electrical utilities and integrated them into a province-wide grid. It was also responsible under The Rural Electrification Act (1949) for the electrification of the province’s rural areas, bringing electricity to over 66,000 farms between 1949 and 1966. To manage the high costs of electrifying the province’s sparsely populated rural areas, SaskPower used a large-scale implementation of a single wire ground return distribution system, claimed to be a pioneering effort (although some utilities in the USA had been using such a system on its rural lines). It was at the time one of the largest such systems in the world. One of the last cities in the province added to SaskPower's system was North Portal in 1971 (which had been served up to this point from Montana-Dakota Utilities' distribution system in Portal, ND just across the border).

Subsidiaries[edit]

Island Falls Hydroelectric Station
  • NorthPoint Energy Solutions Inc., located in Regina, Saskatchewan is a wholly owned subsidiary of SaskPower and is SaskPower's wholesale energy marketing agent. NorthPoint began operation on November 1, 2001. NorthPoint handles the export of power on the North American Market.
  • SaskPower International Inc. was established in 1994 as a wholly owned subsidiary of SaskPower. SaskPower International has no active operations beyond its joint venture interests in the Cory Cogeneration Station (50% split with ATCO Power) and its investment in the MRM Cogeneration Station (30% SaskPower International and 70% ATCO Power).
  • SaskPower Shand Greenhouse is a wholly owned subsidiary of SaskPower located near the Shand Power Station coal-fired plant. The greenhouse was built in 1991 to offset the environmental impact of burning coal. Using waste heat produced by the power plant, it grows nearly 600,000 trees, shrubs and native plants a year that are distributed throughout the province.

Generating facilities[edit]

All of SaskPower's generating facilities are located within Saskatchewan, with the exception of the MRM Cogeneration Station, which is located at the Athabasca oil sands Project's Muskeg River Mine north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Owned by SaskPower[edit]

Name Location Fuel Units net capacity (Date) Capacity (net MW) Link
Boundary Dam Power Station Estevan Coal
  • one 62 MW unit (1959)
  • one 61 MW unit (1960)
  • one 139 MW unit (1969)
  • one 139 MW unit (1970)
  • one 139 MW unit (1973)
  • one 288 MW unit (1977)
828 MW Saskpower.com
Centennial Wind Power Facility

(SaskPower International)

Near Swift Current Wind Power 150 MW Saskpower.com
Charlot River Hydroelectric Station Near Uranium City Hydroelectric
  • two 5 MW units (1980)
10 MW Saskpower.com
Coteau Creek Hydroelectric Station Near Elbow Hydroelectric
  • three 62 MW units (1968)
186 MW Saskpower.com
Cory Cogeneration Station

(50% Owner)

PCS Cory Mine

Near Saskatoon

Natural Gas
  • three 76 MW units (2003)
228 MW Saskpowerinternational.com
Cypress Wind Power Facility Near Gull Lake Wind Power
  • nine Vestas V47 660 kW turbines (2002)
  • seven Vestas V47 660 kW turbines (2003)
11 MW Saskpower.comCanwea.ca
E.B. Campbell Hydroelectric Station Near Nipawin Hydroelectric
  • six 34 MW units (1963/64)
  • two 42 MW units (1966)
288 MW Saskpower.com
Ermine Power Station Near Kerrobert Natural Gas
  • two 46 MW units (2009)
92 MW Saskpower.com
Island Falls Hydroelectric Station Near Sandy Bay Hydroelectric
  • two units (1928)
  • three units (1930)
  • one unit (1937)
  • one unit (1939)
  • one unit (1948)
  • one unit (1959)
101 MW Saskpower.com
Landis Power Station Near Landis Natural Gas
  • one 79 MW unit (1975)
79 MW Saskpower.com
Meadow Lake Power Station Near Meadow Lake Natural Gas
  • one 44 MW unit (1984)
44 MW Saskpower.com
MRM Cogeneration Station

(30% Owner)

Near Fort McMurray, AB Natural Gas
  • two 86 MW units (2003)
172 MW Saskpowerinternational.com
Nipawin Hydroelectric Station Near Nipawin Hydroelectric
  • one 85 MW unit (1985)
  • two 85 MW units (1986)
255 MW Saskpower.com
Poplar River Power Station Near Coronach Coal
  • one 291 MW unit (1981)
  • one 291 MW unit (1983)
582 MW Saskpower.com
Shand Power Station Near Estevan Coal
  • one 276 MW unit (1992)
276 MW Saskpower.com
Success Power Station Near Swift Current Natural Gas
  • three 10 MW units (1967/8)
30 MW Saskpower.com
Queen Elizabeth Power Station Saskatoon Natural Gas
  • two 59 MW units (1958/59) (only one operationally available at a time)
  • one 95 MW unit (1972)
  • six 28 MW units (2002)
  • three 36 MW units (2010)
410 MW Saskpower.com
Waterloo Hydroelectric Station Near Uranium City Hydroelectric
  • one 8 MW unit (1961)
8 MW Saskpower.com
Wellington Hydroelectric Station Near Uranium City Hydroelectric
  • one 2.4 MW unit (1939)
  • one 2.4 MW unit (1959)
5 MW Saskpower.com
Yellowhead Power Station North Battleford Natural Gas
  • three 46 MW units (2010)
138 MW Saskpower.com

Long-term power purchase agreements[edit]

SaskPower has also entered into long-term power purchase agreements with privately owned facilities in the province.

Name
(Owner)
Location Fuel Units net capacity (Date) Capacity (net MW) Link
NRGreen Alameda Heat Recovery Project
(NRGreen Power)
Alameda Waste Heat
  • 1 generator (2008)
5 MW [7]
NRGreen Estlin Heat Recovery Project
(NRGreen Power)
Estlin Waste Heat
  • 1 generator (2008)
5 MW [7]
NRGreen Kerrobert Heat Recovery Project
(NRGreen Power)
Kerrobert Waste Heat
  • 1 generator (2006)
5 MW [7]
Red Lily Wind Project
(Concorde Pacific)
Near Moosomin Wind Power
  • 16 Vestas V82 1.65 MW turbines
    (2011)
27 MW [8]
NRGreen Loreburn Heat Recovery Project
(NRGreen Power)
Loreburn Waste Heat
  • 1 generator (2008)
5 MW [7]
Meridian Cogeneration Station
(TransAlta & Husky Oil )
Lloydminster Natural Gas
  • three 70 MW turbines
    (2000)
210 MW []
North Battleford Energy Centre
(Northland Power)
R.M. North Battleford Natural Gas
  • 170 MW gas turbine
    (Under construction)
  • 90 MW steam turbine
    (Under construction)
261 MW []
Spy Hill Generating Facility
(Northland Power)
Near Esterhazy Natural Gas
  • two 43 MW units
86 MW Northlandpower.ca
SunBridge Wind Power Project

(Suncor & Enbridge)

Near Swift Current Wind Power
  • 17 Vestas V47 660 kW turbines (2002)
11 MW Suncor.com
Prince Albert Pulp Inc.
(Paper Excellence)
Near Prince Albert Biomass
  • 1 generator
10 MW Paperexcellence.com

In May, 2010 SaskPower entered into a Feasibility Study Agreement with Brookfield Renewable Power, James Smith First Nation, Peter Chapman First Nation, Chakastaypasin Band of the Cree and Kiewit Corporation to conduct a feasibility study on construction of the Pehonan Hydroelectric Project; a 250 MW run-of-river generating station.[9]

Rural electrification[edit]

SaskPower was founded by an Act of the provincial legislature as the Saskatchewan Power Commission in 1929. The purpose of the Commission was to research how best to create a provincial power system which would provide the province’s residents with safe, reliable electric service.

A provincial power system was desirable for many reasons. In the early days of electricity in the province of Saskatchewan, electricity was largely unavailable outside of larger centres. Most electrical utilities were owned either privately or by municipalities, and none of them were interconnected. Because each utility operated independently, rates often varied significantly between communities – anywhere from 4[10] to 45[11] cents per kilowatt hour in the mid-1920s. The rapid growth in the province’s population in the first decades of the century – from 91,279 to 757,510 within 20 years – had led to a sharp increase in the demand for electricity. Finally, the provincial government had determined that the lack of inexpensive power was hampering the development of industry in the province (Ref).

While the Commission began purchasing independently owned electrical utilities with the goal of interconnecting them, the economic situation of the 1930s and the labour shortage caused by the Second World War delayed the creation of a provincial power system for nearly two decades.

By 1948, the Commission operated 35 generating stations and more than 8,800 km of transmission lines. However, most farm families who had electricity generated it themselves using battery systems charged by wind turbines or gasoline- or diesel-powered generators. Across the province, only 1,500 farms were connected to the electrical grid, most of them because of their proximity to the lines that linked cities and larger towns.[12]

In 1949, by an Act of the Provincial Legislature, the Commission became the Saskatchewan Power Corporation. The first task of the new Corporation was to purchase what remained of the province’s small, independent electrical utilities and to begin integrating them into a province-wide electrical grid.

The final step in creating a truly province-wide grid was to electrify the province’s vast rural areas. The primary hurdle to rural electrification was the very low customer density in the province – approximately one farm customer per network mile (1.6 km) – and the extremely high cost of a network of the scale required by the vast distances between customers. After much study, the Corporation adopted a single wire ground return distribution scheme, which lowered the cost of rural electrification significantly.[13]

The first year of the program set the goal of connecting 1200 rural customers to the network. The experience gained during the first years led to an increased rate of connections every year, leading to a peak yearly connection rate in 1956 of 7,800 customers. By 1961, 58,000 farms were connected, and by 1966 when the program concluded, the Corporation had provided power to a total of 66,000 rural customers. In addition, hundreds of schools, churches and community halls received electrical service during this period.[13]

Clean coal feasibility study[edit]

Coal was first mined in Saskatchewan in 1857 and since then the industry has grown to the point where the province is the third largest producer of coal in Canada.[14] The majority of the production of coal is consumed within the province by SaskPower. SaskPower primarily burns high-quality lignitic coal in its coal fired plants.

SaskPower has studied a "clean coal project". The intention would be to build a coal-fired unit that would effectively capture most carbon dioxide emissions.[15] An oxyfuel system was considered but rejected due to capital cost and uncertainty of the economic value of CO2 reduction. SaskPower announced in 2011 that it would construct a CDN $1.2 billion carbon capture facility at its Boundary Dam Power Station. Part of the construction cost will be offset by revenue from sale of carbon dioxide.[16][17]

Corporate governance[edit]

SaskPower is governed by a Board of Directors that is responsible to the Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Power Corporation. Current directors of the corporation include: Joel Teal (Chair), Bill Wheatley (Vice-Chair), Judy Harwood, Mitchell Holash, Nick Kaufman, Bryan Leverick, Mick MacBean, Andy McCreath, Lorne Mysko, Leslie Neufeld and Dale Bloom (Corporate Secretary).

Unions representing SaskPower employees[edit]

  • IBEW Local 2067
  • CEP Local 649

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b SaskPower 2012 Annual Report, p. 3.
  2. ^ a b SaskPower 2012 Annual Report, p. 115.
  3. ^ SaskPower 2012 Annual Report, p. 117.
  4. ^ a b SaskPower 2012 Annual Report, p. 17.
  5. ^ Court Documents Describing Relationship between SaskPower and Swift Current Department of Light and Power
  6. ^ Saskatoon Light and Power
  7. ^ a b c d NRGreen, Baseload Thermal Stations, retrieved 2010-11-25 
  8. ^ "Red Lily Wind Project now in service". SaskPower. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  9. ^ Press-Release Brookfield and its First Nations Partners Proceed with Feasibility Stage of the Pehonan Hydroelectric Project Toronto, Ontario, May 13, 2010
  10. ^ White, Clinton O. Power for a Province: A History of Saskatchewan Power. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, 1976. 8.
  11. ^ --. 14.
  12. ^ Saskpower.com
  13. ^ a b Saskpower.com
  14. ^ "COAL". Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan University of Regina. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  15. ^ Toronto Globe and Mail, September 7, 2007, SaskPower shelves clean coal project
  16. ^ Leaderpost.com Bruce Johnstone CCS Project has its sceptics, Regina Leader Post, May 11, 2011 retrieved 2011 July 23
  17. ^ Saskpower.com Saskpower information sheet

Works cited[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Print:

  • Anderson, Dave. To Get the Lights: A Memoir about Farm Electrification in Saskatchewan. Victoria: Trafford, 2005.
  • White, Clinton O. Power for a Province: A History of Saskatchewan Power. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, 1976.

Online:

External links[edit]