SaskPower announced Monday morning they have entered into two power purchase agreements for two 10-megawatt solar projects, one of which will be built near Weyburn.
The two projects were brought forward by the First Nation Power Authority, but as Joel Cherry, a spokesperson for SaskPower explained, the process has been in the works for nearly two years.
“In May 2019, SaskPower signed an agreement with First Nations Power Authority, or FNPA, on an opportunity agreement which set out the conditions which to the development of this project,” Cherry stated.
The solar project near Weyburn was first discussed in February of 2019 when the company Natural Forces held town halls in the community to talk about the project. Called Pesâkâstêw, the project would be located in the R.M. of Weyburn, according to the initial discussions. The project is a joint partnership between Natural Forces, a company based out of Halifax, George Gordon First Nation and Star Blanket Cree Nation.
“On behalf of George Gordon First Nation we are proud to add our name to this exciting project,” said George Gordon First Nation Chief Byron Bitternose in a written release. “After a lot of hard work from our business arm, George Gordon Developments Limited, we are confident our Pesâkâstêw Solar Project will create employment and revenue generation opportunities for our First Nations members.”
“Star Blanket Cree Nation is honoured and proud to be part of the Pesâkâstêw Solar Project team,” added Star Blanket Cree Nation Chief Michael Starr. “We would like to thank all our dynamic partners for moving this 10 MW solar project forward and securing the PPA with SaskPower. This 20-year project will provide revenue for our Nation as well as create employment and training opportunities.”
There is no timeline at this point for when the work will begin on the project, but Cherry said it is hoped work can begin in the coming months.
For SaskPower, bringing the two projects online will help the Crown power company with their goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent of the 2005 levels by 2030.
The other solar project included in the announcement Monday morning was the Awasis Solar project, which will be located outside of Regina. The project is a partnership between Cowessess First Nation and Elemental Energy.
For both of the projects, the partnerships will own and operate the solar facilities, with SaskPower agreeing to purchase the power over the course of 20 years.
We will have more information on this story as it becomes available.
Story source: https://discoverweyburn.com/