SaskPower signs solar project deal with First Nations group

REGINA — SaskPower has inked two power purchase agreements for two 10-megawatt (MW) solar projects with the First Nations Power Authority (FNPA).

The two projects will be built near Weyburn and Regina. The projects will generate revenue for First Nations and be able to power 5,000 Saskatchewan homes.

The FNPA is the sole Indigenous non-profit developing power projects with Indigenous communities in all of North America.

“Indigenous procurement is a priority for SaskPower, and we are pleased to be able to build on our already strong relationship with FNPA to finalize these two power purchase agreements,” said Mike Marsh, SaskPower president and CEO, in a statement. “These projects are a crucial step toward achieving SaskPower’s short-term goal of adding 60 MW of solar generating capacity to the provincial grid.”

Pesâkâstêw Solar, a partnership between George Gordon First Nation, Star Blanket Cree Nation and Natural Forces, will develop, own and operate the 10 MW solar project near Weyburn.

“On behalf of George Gordon First Nation we are proud to add our name to this exciting project,” said George Gordon First Nation Chief Byron Bitternose. “After a lot of hard work from our business arm, George Gordon Developments Limited, we are confident our Pesâkâstêw Solar Project will create employment and revenue generation opportunities for our First Nations members.”

The second project near Regina will be owned, developed and operated by Awasis Solar, a partnership between Cowessess First Nation and Elemental Energy.

“Cowessess First Nation has been on our renewable energy journey for a decade – we have an existing one MW wind, solar and battery facility, and we are currently installing 320 kW of solar on five community buildings back home,” said Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme. “The development of our small-scale projects has allowed our team to gain expertise in the sector, and we are now ready to embrace our first utility scale energy project.”

The exact timing of the projects has yet to be finalized as engineering work is still being done.