Environment Minister Scott Moe announced a wind energy project near Chaplin, approximately 85 km west of Moose Jaw, will not be approved to proceed in its proposed location. This decision was made after completing an environmental assessment process that included feedback from environmental non-government organizations (NGOs) and the public.
The environmental review for the proposed project near Chaplin identified environmental impacts of concern to the ministry, the primary concern relating to migratory bird activity in the area close to the site. The ministry received 137 responses during the public review process in 2015. All but one of these responses supported wind energy, but expressed concern over the development’s specific location.
“The government will continue to move forward with green energy, with a goal of 50 per cent of power generation from renewable energy sources by 2030,” Moe said. “Ultimately, there were potential negative impacts to birds and migratory corridors, as well as other risks, that led us to conclude this is not an appropriate location for a wind energy project.”
Algonquin Power had proposed to build the 177-megawatt wind-power facility on behalf of SaskPower, which would have included a maximum of 79 wind turbine generators, approximately 50 to 70 kilometres of access roads and 110 kilometres of trenched transmission lines. The proponent’s environmental impact statement was reviewed by Saskatchewan Environmental Assessment Review Panel (SEARP), a team of technical professionals from across government, including the Ministry of Environment.
This was the first wind electricity project to undergo an environmental impact assessment. Moe added that the experience gained during this review and consultation was invaluable in the development of new siting guidelines for future wind and other renewable energy generation projects, which were also released today.
A copy of the Minister’s decision and reasons for the decision on the Chaplin Wind Energy Project can be found at www.saskatchewan.ca/environmentalassessment.