BLACK LAKE, SASK. — SaskPower’s $630-million hydroelectric project is being shelved after forecasted demand has fallen.
In a press release, SaskPower stated it was deferring development of the Tazi Twe hydroelectric project near Black Lake, Sask. due to a decline in the projected demand for power in northern Saskatchewan.
"We have decided not to proceed with construction until there is a viable business case for this project, which is largely dependent on economic activity in northern Saskatchewan," said SaskPower president and CEO Mike Marsh in the release. "SaskPower values the relationship we've worked hard to develop with the people from the Black Lake First Nation over the past number of years."
According to SaskPower, until last year, it had projected demand for power to grow at a rate of four to five per cent annually in northern Saskatchewan.
But current predictions show that has dropped to one or two per cent per year, meaning the corporation will be able to meet demand in the province's north with the infrastructure already in place. SaskPower officials stated this approach is in line with its capital spending plan to provide power while also keeping rates low.
SaskPower had already spent around $34 million in feasibility studies and engineering over five years on the project.
The Crown corporation noted the spending was due to the complex nature of the project, including its remote location, unique ownership structure, plans to build entirely on First Nations land and comprehensive environmental and public consultation requirements.
SaskPower noted the project could be revisited if demand changes.