City of Saskatoon to develop C$65 million hydropower project with Saskatoon Tribal Council

The city of Saskatoon and the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) in Saskatchewan, Canada, announced the development of the new Saskatoon Weir Hydropower Station, estimated to cost about C$65 million (US$51 million).

On Nov. 15, during the First Nations Power Authority (FNPA) 2017 Western Canadian Indigenous Renewable Energy Forum held in Saskatoon, city officials and the STC announced both parties signed an official memorandum of understanding to develop the project.

In March, HydroWorld.com reported Saskatoon was preparing to enter a formal agreement with the STC for a new 5.5 to 6.1-MW hydropower generation project.

The new station will have a capacity of 6.1 MW and is being built at the weir on South Saskatchewan River. The weir was originally completed in 1940 and is an 11-foot-high concrete ogee-crested structure about 985 feet long.

The city said a pre-feasibility study, conducted by Knight Piesold Consulting in 2009, indicates the project is technically feasible, economically viable and would cause no significant environmental disruption.

Officials said the next step will be to conduct a full-feasibility study.

Saskatoon Light & Power, a division of the city, is scheduled to begin constructing the project in 2020 and completing it by 2022.

Included in the entire project are the hydropower station, pedestrian bridge, fish bypass channel, rubber weir, living roof and a raised concrete weir.

According to the city’s announcement, project funding will come from “the STC and private-sector partners, off-set by revenue generated by the power station and funding from other green-energy funding sources.”

FNPA is an Indigenous not-for-profit advisory service that has a mandate to support Indigenous communities and businesses in advancing their active investment in the power sector. 

FNPA said, via its 10-year Master Agreement with Canadian utility SaskPower and to ensure Indigenous interests are maximized, it supports STC activities throughout this project’s development process as a facilitator, developer and an owner’s representative.

Recently, SaskPower decided to halt development of the 50-MW Tazi Twe hydropower project, citing a “decline in the projected demand for power” in Saskatchewan’s northern region.

The US$510 million plant had been scheduled for construction near Black Lake, in a region where demand for energy was expected to grow annually by about 5%.

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

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