Canadian utility SaskPower plans to build its first-ever large-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) to support a buildout of renewable energy projects.
The battery project will be built in northeast Regina and capable of 20 MWh when needed. SaskPower is seeking federal funding to help with investment in the construction.
“The battery system will be the first of its kind in Saskatchewan and serve as an opportunity for SaskPower to gain experience operating and maintaining them,” said Tim Eckel, SaskPower Vice-President of Asset Management, Planning and Sustainability. “It will also help us understand all the benefits they can provide to our system.”
SaskPower plans to add 685 MW of new wind and 60 MW of solar in the next few years. Two years ago, the utility completed a new 353-MW gas-fired power station.
The BESS will help the utility balance the system when power demand spikes for short periods of time. It also will support the 745 MW of intermittent renewable generation resources coming online.
SaskPower expects to complete the energy storage system work by the end of 2022. Construction on the estimated $26 million project could begin this summer.
Energy storage investment is expensive but seen as cost-effective as part of carbon reduction efforts. In the U.S. alone, nearly 1,500 MW of storage capacity and 3,500 MWh in net generation potential was brought online last year, more than double the installations completed in 2019.
SaskPower serves more than 500,000 customers in Saskatchewan and totals more than 3.5 GW of generation assets including coal-fired, gas-fired, hydropower and wind.