SaskPower

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SaskPower
Crown Corporation
IndustryElectric utility
Founded1929
Headquarters,
Area served
Saskatchewan
Key people
Mike Marsh, CEO
ProductsElectricity generation, transmission and distribution
RevenueC$2,725 million (2018-19)[1]
C$197 million (2018-19)[1]
Total assetsC$11,812 million (2018-19)[2]
Total equityC$2,540 million (2018-19)[2]
OwnerGovernment of Saskatchewan
Number of employees
3,100 (2018-19)[3]
ParentCrown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan[4]
Subsidiaries
  • NorthPoint Energy Solutions[5]
  • SaskPower International[4]
Websitewww.saskpower.com

SaskPower is the principal electric utility in Saskatchewan, Canada. Established in 1929 by the provincial government, it serves more than 538,000 customers and manages over $11.8 billion in assets. SaskPower is a major employer in the province with over 3,100 permanent full-time staff located in approximately 70 communities.[3]

Legal status[edit]

SaskPower was founded as the Saskatchewan Power Commission in 1929, becoming the Saskatchewan Power Corporation in 1949 with the passage of The Rural Electrification Act.[6] 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.[7] Saskatoon Light & Power provides service to the customers within the 1958 boundaries of Saskatoon while SaskPower has responsibility for areas annexed after 1958.[8]

Customers[edit]

Boundary Dam Power Station

SaskPower serves more than 538,000 customers through more than 157,000 kilometres of power lines throughout the province and covers a service territory that includes Saskatchewan's geographic area of approximately 652,000 km2 (252,000 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.[3] In fiscal year 2018-19, SaskPower sold 23,559 GWh of electricity for $2,583 million (CAD).[9]

Facilities[edit]

Francois Finlay Dam and Nipawin Hydroelectric Station

SaskPower has a generating capacity of 3,542 megawatts (MW) from 17 generating facilities, including three coal-fired power stations, five natural gas stations, seven hydroelectric stations, and two wind power facilities.

In 2019, SaskPower purchased full ownership in Cory Cogeneration Station, which was previously owned and operated as a joint venture between Canadian Utilities (an ATCO Power subsidiary) and SaskPower international. The cogeneration facility supplies both electricity and steam to Nutrien’s Cory Potash Mine and also supplies electricity to the SaskPower grid.[10]

SaskPower also buys power from various independent power producers (IPPs) including the North Battleford Generating Station, Spy Hill Generating Station, Morse Wind Energy Facility, Red Lily Wind Power Facility and SunBridge Wind Energy Facility. When all SaskPower and IPP facilities are counted, the total available generation capacity is 4,437 MW.

The Chinook Power Station is a 350MW combined-cycle natural gas power station near Swift Current that is expected to come online in 2019. This will increase SaskPower's generating capacity to 3,892 MW, and the total generation capacity controlled by SaskPower to 4,881 MW.[11][12]

The SaskPower transmission system utilizes lines carrying 230,000 volts, 138,000 volts and 72,000 volts. There are 56 switching stations and 197 distribution stations on the transmission system.[3]

SaskPower has four interconnections to Manitoba, one interconnection to North Dakota, and one interconnection to Alberta. Manitoba and North Dakota are on the same grid frequency as Saskatchewan, which means interconnections can be made directly using a normal AC transmission line. Alberta is part of WECC, so the interconnection relies on an AC/DC-AC link via the McNeill HVDC Back-to-back station.[13]

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

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[15] to 45[16] 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.

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.[17]

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.[18]

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.[18]

Corporate governance[edit]

SaskPower is governed by a Board of Directors that is responsible to the Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Power Corporation. The board gets appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan.[4] Current directors of the corporation include: Chief Darcy Bear (Chair), Bryan Leverick (Vice-Chair), Dale Bloom (Corporate Secretary), Terry Bergan, Bevra Fee, Jim Hopson, Karri Howlett, Cherilyn Jolly-Nagel, Phil Klein, Fred Matheson, Rob Nicolay, Marvin Romanow, and Tammy van Lambalgen.[19]

Unions representing SaskPower employees[edit]

  • IBEW Local 2067 represents approximately 50% of SaskPower's employees[4]
  • Unifor Local 649 represents approximately 13% of SaskPower's employees[4]

Emissions Reductions[edit]

By 2030, SaskPower plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared to 2005.[20]

In 2012, the Harper government introduced regulations to start phasing out coal-fired power plants in Canada. These regulations set an emissions limit for coal-fired generating units of 420 tonnes of CO2 per GWh. The limit was to be imposed in 2015 on all new coal units, and would also apply to units built before 1975 starting in 2020, and to units built before 1986 starting in 2030, and would also apply to all units once they reach 50 years of age regardless of the aforementioned dates.[21]

In 2014, SaskPower rebuilt Boundary Dam unit 3 with a CCS system capable of capturing 90% of the CO2 emissions of the unit, and 100% of the SO2 emissions.[22]

In 2018, the Trudeau government accelerated the coal phase-out by mandating that all coal units must shut down by 2030, regardless of the year they were built.[23] The Trudeau government also implemented a nationwide carbon tax that made it more-expensive for SaskPower to operate both coal and natural gas plants in comparison to hydro, wind, and solar facilities.

The federal coal regulations mentioned above would have meant that Boundary Dam units 4 and 5 would need to close at the end of 2019. However, in 2019 the Moe government was able to negotiate an equivalency agreement with the Trudeau government that allowed Boundary Dam unit 4 to run until the end of 2021 and Boundary Dam unit 5 until the end of 2024 due to SaskPower's investments into CCS technology on unit 3.[24]

As coal units close, SaskPower plans to replace the lost capacity with low-emissions generation sources such as combined-cycle natural gas, wind, and solar, and they also plan to import more hydroelectricity from Manitoba. In particular, a new 350MW combined-cycle natural gas generating station is expected to come online in 2019 and a total of 340MW of hydro imports from Manitoba will be available by 2022.[25][26]

In addition to building new generators and interconnections to reduce emissions, SaskPower is implementing energy efficiency and demand-side management (DSM) programs to reduce electricity use per-capita. Their DSM program has reduced peak demand by 11.4MW as of 2019.[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b SaskPower 2019, p. 75.
  2. ^ a b SaskPower 2019, p. 77.
  3. ^ a b c d SaskPower 2019, p. 2.
  4. ^ a b c d e SaskPower 2019, p. 11.
  5. ^ SaskPower 2019, p. 1.
  6. ^ Champ, Joan (2001-12-04). "Rural Electrification in Saskatchewan During the 1950s" (PDF). Western Development Museum. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  7. ^ Court Documents Describing Relationship between SaskPower and Swift Current Department of Light and Power
  8. ^ Saskatoon Light and Power
  9. ^ SaskPower 2019, p. 5.
  10. ^ MacPherson, Alex; May 27, Saskatoon StarPhoenix Updated; 2019 (2019-05-28). "SaskPower buys out partner in Cory power station for $120 million | Saskatoon StarPhoenix". Retrieved 2019-10-18.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "Chinook Power Station". www.saskpower.com. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  12. ^ "Chinook Power Station | Projects | Burns & McDonnell". www.burnsmcd.com. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  13. ^ SaskPower 2019, p. 138.
  14. ^ SaskPower 2019, p. 46.
  15. ^ White, Clinton O. Power for a Province: A History of Saskatchewan Power. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, 1976. 8.
  16. ^ --. 14.
  17. ^ Saskpower.com
  18. ^ a b Saskpower.com
  19. ^ "Board Members". www.saskpower.com. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  20. ^ "2030 Emission Reduction Goal Progressing". www.saskpower.com. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  21. ^ "Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-fired Generation of Electricity Regulations". www.gazette.gc.ca. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  22. ^ "Boundary Dam Carbon Capture Project". www.saskpower.com. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  23. ^ Government of Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada (2018-12-12). "Canada Gazette, Part 2, Volume 152, Number 25: Regulations Amending the Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-fired Generation of Electricity Regulations". www.gazette.gc.ca. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  24. ^ Government of Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada (2019-06-12). "Canada Gazette, Part 2, Volume 153, Number 12: Order Declaring that the Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-fired Generation of Electricity Regulations Do Not Apply in Saskatchewan". www.gazette.gc.ca. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  25. ^ SaskPower 2019, p. 9.
  26. ^ SaskPower 2019, p. 13.
  27. ^ SaskPower 2019, p. 8.

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]