The Government of Saskatchewan is providing Go Green funding for a multi-year agreement with the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) to develop and demonstrate new wind energy storage technology.
"Through the Go Green Fund, we continue to support innovative approaches to environmental protection," Environment Minister Nancy Heppner said. "Investment in this technology will enhance Saskatchewan's leadership in renewable power technology development."
The project will harness wind energy at heights in the range of 70 to 90 metres above ground (turbines at SaskPower's existing wind farms are at heights of 65 metres). The potential benefits of high-level wind combined with the ability to store the energy and use it during low wind situations may significantly increase Saskatchewan's capacity to use wind resources.
"We're in the business of providing smart science solutions to meet industry's challenges and opportunities," SRC President and CEO Dr. Laurier Schramm said. "By working with the Cowessess First Nation and other partners to design, install and monitor a wind turbine and energy storage system, we will be helping a Saskatchewan community meet a current energy need while modeling a future wind energy solution."
The Ministry of Environment is contributing $1,394,000 through the Go Green Fund and the Cowessess First Nation will be matching that amount. The project will take place on land owned by the Cowessess First Nation, five kilometres southeast of Regina.
"Cowessess First Nation is committed to the development of green energy in the province," Cowessess First Nation Council Member Grady Lerat said. "As we all know the wind resource on the prairies, if harnessed, can become a viable alternative for the future. This initiative can resolve the variability of the wind resource in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Once proven, this development can be replicated in future wind farms."
The lack of cost-effective storage technologies for wind energy has been the biggest impediment for adoption of this renewable resource. The cost-effectiveness of wind energy storage technology is expected to be competitive with clean coal or clean natural gas technology.