SASKATOON – SaskPower is celebrating the expansion of the Queen Elizabeth Power Station in Saskatoon. The $525 million project includes a newly commissioned plant. Three gas turbines were converted to increase efficiency by 10-15 per cent.
“The energy we generate from our facilities, about two-thirds of it goes to supply industrial customers. It is very important that facilities like this are here to support industry and to support the community,” said SaskPower CEO and president Mike Marsh.
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With the expansion, the plant becomes the number one generating source of power in the province, surpassing conventional coal.
Natural gas accounts for about 40 per cent of total power in the province.
“The benefit of technology like combined cycle natural gas is that it is very efficient, it is the most efficient type of natural gas for generation. Greenhouse gas emissions from this plant are going to be about roughly 40 per cent of what they would be from conventional coal fire generation,” said Guy Bruce, vice-president of planning, environment, and sustaining development.
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Growth in the province continues to put increasing demands on the power grid. By 2019, enough electricity will be needed to power another city the size of Saskatoon.
“The demand for power has been really great in Saskatchewan. I mean it is just a symptom of the growth in the economy. In 2013 we had about 6.5 per cent growth, in 2014 it was about 3.5 per cent. This year we are slightly over 2 per cent and as we look forward to the next five and 10 years, we’re looking at about 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent growth annually, which is very significant,” said Marsh.
The new expansion provides a 204 megawatt increase from 430 megawatt. To put that into perspective, 1 megawatt has the capacity to power approximately 1,000 homes. Saskatoon as a city runs on 200 to 250 megawatts of power.
The project will extend the lifespan of the power station by 30 years, reducing outages and meeting the growth and power demands of the future.