The Bekevar wind farm under construction in southeast Saskatchewan. The wind farm is part owned by Cowessess First Nation.Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

All they need now is some calm, non-windy days.

“It’s the classic joke in the wind industry, actually – during construction is the only time you’re praying for low wind,” said vice-president of Construction and Engineering, Michael Capaldo with Innagreen Investments.

Wind is a key factor in Capaldo’s line of work – renewable energy from Saskatchewan’s dependable breezy conditions – but during construction of the 36 total turbines in the Bekevar project near Kipling, calm days are crucial to ensure safe construction.

“We had 15 turbines delivered last year, and then we’re doing the other 21 – these are actually happening right now – and they’ll be done by the end of June; we’ll have all the turbines on site,” Capaldo said, adding that construction at the Bekevar project is ‘right on schedule’. “We should be finished the installation of the turbines in August.”

The Bekevar Wind Facility is the largest project of it’s kind in Saskatchewan right now, and will bring 200 MW of renewable wind energy to the province. This addition to the grid is estimated to allow SaskPower the ability to light up an average of 100,000 Saskatchewan homes. In the long term, SaskPower plans to add 3,000 MW of wind and solar power generation to the Saskatchewan grid by 2035.

During peak construction, Capaldo estimates there will be 250 people working on the construction site, with the two-year build anticipating completion this November.

Joint owners on the project are Cowessess First Nation, who have a 17 per cent equity in the Bekevar project. Not only does the project mean more green energy flowing into Cowessess, but also green energy jobs for those living in the community.

“We’re keeping an eye on the employment and making sure that we could have as much of our band members as benefiting on the project – not only during operations, but also during construction as well,” said Jake Sinclair, CEO of Cowessess Ventures Ltd. “So right now, we’re just in the construction phase, and we’re looking over our long term plans for what does operations look like, and what those maintenance contracts look like as well.”

Green energy is an important part of Cowessess, the home of the Awasis solar farm that provides power to many key public buildings on the first nation. As for the Bekevar project, three quarter sections of Cowessess land will see ‘between one and three’ turbines built. Total size for the project is an estimated 20,000 acres of private land in the RMs of Kingsley and Hazelwood as well.

Along with turbines going up, 18 km of new road is also included in the construction process – 3.5 km of that becoming municipal roads. A staggering 106 km of medium voltage underground cables connecting the turbines will also be installed.

By Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 03, 2024 at 20:59

This item reprinted with permission from   Moosomin World-Spectator   Moosomin, Saskatchewant

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