The Assiniboia and district area is a prime location for renewable energy development, Ron Diduch, CEO of Seqoia Energy told a gathering of business leaders in Assiniboia on November 18. Diduch and Dan Cox, Sequoia’s Manager of Development, spoke about the region’s potential and their upcoming plans at the Assiniboia and District Chamber of Commerce’s Lunch and Learn session. Nelson GM sponsored the lunch.
Sequoia is eying Assiniboia and area as a potential location for their bid to SaskPower for a $450 million renewable energy wind plant project in southern Saskatchewan. SaskPower has been mandated to wind down its coal production and it’s reducing its carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. Unlike other provinces, Saskatchewan is taking a pragmatic approach to bringing new energy sources on line. They will be gradually replacing non-renewable energy with renewable energy over the next 10 to 15 years, allowing it to build infrastructure and have proper siting in place.
SaskPower has put out a call for renewable energy requests starting in January 2017. It plans is to add wind energy in 20 MW chunks over 10 years using a competitive process.
Sequoia Energy, reorganized under new owners as Potentia Renewables, has received a $2 million commitment to invest in renewable energy, Diduch told the session. The company has been previously involved in projects in Saskatchewan. The proposed project for the Assiniboia district envisions a $450 million wind plant with 60-80 turbines that can operate up to 25 years. Infrastructure building could see up to 300 workers employed on site construction, and up to 30 full time staff once the project comes on line. Assiniboia has a lot of advantages over other areas of the province. There are no environmental barriers like nesting grounds, and it has the right combination of resources, existing infrastructure and strong local supply and services, Cox explained.
For Assiniboia and district this project can bring a lot of benefits, Diduch stated. It would mean an economic boost for local businesses, use of local suppliers, long-term investment and taxation and new jobs. Cox stated that the SaskPower proposal process is extremely competitive. SaskPower’s last request for project proposals garnered 20 proposals. He expects this new competition to be just as tough. Sequoia is looking for community support and engagement, which Sask Power values strongly in considering proposals. Sequoia wants to be transparent with the community and hold open houses. The company believes that community engagement is important to show that a project is viable.