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SaskPower CEO says solar not feasible yet, maybe wind

Too far north on the Earth’s curve for solar to be useful.


September 28, 2012
by CANADIAN PRESS

SASKATOON — The CEO of SaskPower says despite comments by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the technology just isn’t there yet to make solar power a part of their fleet.

Earlier this week, Kennedy told a Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations conference that Saskatchewan should be focusing more on wind and solar power and less on coal power.

Robert Watson says SaskPower is investigating solar technology, but says there are technical problems.

He says Saskatchewan is too far north on the curvature of the earth for solar technology to be effective. In the winter, it’s too dark for too long.

Watson says wind power will become a major player in their fleet down the road.

“By the time we finish adding our 177 megawatt wind farm down near Swift Current, we will have about 8 ½% of our spinning reserve wind, which is almost higher than anybody in Canada.”

SaskPower does plan on reducing coal from their fleet. Watson says over the next 10 to 15 years, coal will eventually account for 35% of SaskPower’s output.

Kennedy suggested Saskatchewan relies too much on coal-burning power plants and needs to move toward cleaner energy.

“The issue is the illusion that you have cheap coal here,” he said. “Coal is heavily subsidized and it’s imposing far greater costs on the people of Saskatchewan. If you took the whole community costs, it would be much cheaper to power this province on wind and solar.”

Kennedy, nephew of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy, is currently serving as a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council in America.

© 2012 The Canadian Press