Workers have began removing dirt in order to pour concrete for the windmill bases for the Bekevar Wind Energy project in southeast Saskatchewan. Photo by: Clarence Cummins. Sierra D’Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By: Sierra D’Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
Construction is now underway onsite for the Bekevar Wind Energy project.
The new Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Canadian project and Awasis Nehiyawewini Energy Development—a wholly owned Cowessess First Nation entity—is located north of Moose Mountain Provincial Park in the RM of Hazelwood, the RM of Kingsley, and on Cowessess First Nation reserve land.
The Bekevar Wind Energy Project will supply 200 megawatts (MW) of zero-emissions power, enough to serve up to 100,000 homes.
SaskPower selected RES and Awasis Nehiyawewini Energy Development’s project as part of an open competition. Evaluation of the proposals included best-value criteria such as, energy price, environmental site characteristics, Indigenous participation and community engagement plans.
Electricity generated at Bekevar will be purchased by SaskPower at an industry leading rate over the 25-year term of the agreement and sets a new low benchmark price for renewable energy in Saskatchewan.
With many people being hired for the project, Mayor of Kipling Pat Jackson said it has brought a lot of business to town.
“There’s close to a thousand workers with the different companies who are staying anywhere close to here in Kipling, I think there’s a bunch at the campground in Windthorst, Kennedy, Carlyle, apparently Carlyle’s hotels are full, as well as people who are staying in Kenosee,” she said.
“It’s affecting the whole larger area. Of course it’s not a bad thing for the restaurants and even the grocery stores.
“Long term, I’m not sure exactly how many people will be employed for operations after the two years of construction.
“Some may already be local people here, some may be people who come and stay, or come just to do the operations.”
Construction on the project will begin in the summer of 2022, and the facility is expected to be complete by the end of 2023.