SaskPower has announced a new 350-megawatt Moose Jaw natural gas-fired power station has taken a significant step toward becoming a reality.
Dustin Duncan, the minister responsible for SaskPower, announced Thursday morning that the company has completed its review of new federal regulations and decided to proceed with the project.
“In spite of changing federal regulations, building the gas plant at Moose Jaw remains the most economic choice for SaskPower,” Duncan said. “Natural gas generation is a cost-efficient, low-carbon and reliable source of baseload power, which will be crucial as we continue to increase renewables.”
SaskPower began engaging communities about the project in 2017 and ultimately selected Moose Jaw as the preferred location. In June, the federal government announced new regulations for natural gas generation coming online after Jan. 1, 2021, which includes the Moose Jaw natural gas plant.
Based on the new federal regulations, in order to be exempt from the carbon tax, any natural gas facilities coming online after 2021 need to have zero emissions.
“When this facility is complete in 2024 it will generate enough baseload power for a city the size of Saskatoon,” said Mike Marsh, SaskPower president and chief executive officer. “Construction and operation of the plant will also provide economic opportunity in the Moose Jaw area, and we look forward to continued co-operation with the City of Moose Jaw in the coming years.”
Since SaskPower initially advanced the project, federal environmental approval has been received. A process for the pre-qualification of proposals to build the facility has also been undertaken. With this decision to proceed, SaskPower will submit a technical proposal for provincial environmental review, execute land and service agreements, and proceed with shortlisting qualified proponents to design and build the facility.
The Chinook Power Station, Saskatchewan’s next natural gas-fired power plant located in Swift Current, will be fully commissioned by the end of 2019. It is considered a low-emission facility and is not affected by the recently revised federal regulations on natural gas generation.