Saskatoon preparing to develop 5.5 to 6.1-MW hydropower plant at South Saskatchewan River Weir

The city of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada, on March 8 announced it is preparing to enter a formal agreement with the Saskatoon Tribal Council for a new 5.5 to 6.1-MW hydropower generation project at the weir on Saskatchewan River.

Included in the entire project are the hydropower station, pedestrian bridge, fish bypass channel, rubber weir, living roof and a raised concrete weir. Cost estimations for the project range from C$61.5 to C$65.2 million (US$45.4 to 48.2 million). The city said it expects project funding to come from the Saskatoon Tribal Council, although it did not provide specific amounts.  

The city also said it would offset funding requirements for the project using revenue from the sale of generated electricity, private sector interests and funding from other green-energy funding sources.

“The Saskatoon Weir is an ideal location for expanding the city’s clean-power generation program to hydropower,” said Kevin Hudson, Sustainable Energy manager for city-owned Saskatoon Light & Power utility. “The benefits of this initiative will be felt across the Saskatoon region and we are delighted to have the Saskatoon Tribal Council as a partner to make it a reality.”

In 2015, HydroWorld.com reported that according to the city, a pre-feasibility engineering and baseline environmental study conducted in 2009 was done to gain a clearer understanding of the technical, environmental, and economic implications of a proposed hydropower station at the Saskatoon Weir. Part of the study said, “Depending on the size and capacity of the proposed hydropower station, the estimated capital costs range between C$26.3 and C$57.9 million, with annual revenue projections estimated between C$1.9 and C$5.5 million beginning in year 2016.”

According to the city’s announcement, all technical and environmental conditions remain the same, making the data and findings of those reports still valid.

The Saskatoon Weir was completed in 1940 and is an 11-feet-high concrete ogee-crested structure about 985 feet in length. It is an overflow-type dam used to raise the level of the South Saskatchewan River through Saskatoon.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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