SaskPower proposes system reinforcements in and around Saskatoon

SaskPower is proposing to construct three power lines, two new switching stations and a substation to serve the Saskatoon area’s growing demand.

The project, collectively called the Saskatoon Area Reinforcement Project, will enable SaskPower to “provide additional backup and contingency for the city of Saskatoon and surrounding area,” particularly to the north and the east, Bernie Bolen, supervisor of environmental issues management, told TransmissionHub on March 27.

At present, the city of Saskatoon in central Saskatchewan has a single source of generation, the 430-MW natural gas-fired Queen Elizabeth power station, which supplies the area’s more than 200,000 residents as well as a burgeoning industrial base outside of the city.

The reinforcement project will tap into two existing transmission lines north of the Saskatoon area that carry hydropower generated farther north in the province,

In addition to enhanced reliability, the project “will allow us to upgrade those potash [mining operations] to the east of Saskatoon that are looking for an upgrade from 138-kV to 230-kV service,” Bolen added.

The project consists of a 104-km (64.6-mi), 230-kV line from Aberdeen to Wolverine, Sask.; a 37-km (23-mi), 230-kV line from Aberdeen to Martensville, Sask., and a 7.3-km (4.5-mi), 138-kV line between Martensville and SaskPower’s existing North Industrial substation.

Each of the new lines will lower the utility’s operating costs by reducing power losses on the Saskatchewan transmission system, while helping the utility provide a reliable and secure supply of electricity, SaskPower’s President and CEO Robert Watson said in a statement announcing the project.

The lines, switching stations, and substation are estimated to cost a total of C$105m (US$105.8m).

Consultations with affected landowners will begin within the next few weeks and environmental and field studies will be conducted in the summer. SaskPower intends to file its application to the Ministry of Environment by September or October, and hopes to be able to build all segments in 2013 with an in-service date of December 2013.