Co-generation is an energy efficient and cost-effective method of producing electricity from the waste heat of industrial production processes. Typically, the electricity produced is used to run the production plant, but in some cases it is also fed into the electrical power grid.
SaskPower currently draws power from two cogeneration plants.
Located at the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan's (PCS) Cory mine site near Saskatoon, the 228 MW Cory Co-Generation Power Station was put into service in early 2003. It reflects a more environmentally sensitive approach to electrical generation. The new station uses the energy from natural gas and re-uses the waste heat instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. This makes Cory 40% more efficient than a traditional coal fired plant. The natural gas used at Cory will produce about 50% less greenhouse gas emissions than coal. Power from the Cory station is fed into the provincial electrical grid.
The 215-megawatt (MW)Meridian Cogeneration Station is operated by TransAlta and Husky Oil at the Lloydminster heavy oil upgrader. The station supplies electricity to the Saskatchewan power grid and produces thermal energy for upgrader operations. The two natural gas generating units combined with a steam turbine generator started producing power in 1999. SaskPower has a 25-year power purchase agreement with TransAlta and Husky to buy 210 MW of electrical capacity annually from the facility. The Meridian plant generates enough electricity for a city the size of Saskatoon
SaskPower has formed a partnership with the Regina Health District and SaskEnergy for a two-year pilot project that will allow both corporations to gain practical experience in microturbine technology for co-generation.
Two microturbines, which simultaneously generate electrical power and produce hot water, were installed at the Regina General Hospital. The electricity produced is delivered into the electrical distribution grid. The hot water produced from exhaust heat is used to help meet the hospital's domestic hot water needs (used for cooking and cleaning). The two microturbines generate 120 kilowatts of electricity and approximately 80 gallons of hot water a minute when running at maximum rated capacity.
By producing electricity and hot water simultaneously, this co-generation project is not only cost effective, but it's also good for the environment.
In the fall of 2002, a distributed generation pilot project was launched near Carlyle, Saskatchewan. The pilot project uses flare gas, a by-product from the process of extracting and processing oil, to run two microturbines. The microturbines will collectively produce approximately 60 kilowatts of electricity, enough to meet the annual needs of 20 households. Electricity generated by the microturbines will be delivered into SaskPower's electrical distribution grid.
Flare gas is normally flared and the energy is wasted. SaskPower is able to capture this waste energy, convert it to electricity and thereby avoid consuming other fuels that would generate additional emissions. The pilot project provides all partners - SaskPower, SaskEnergy and Flatland Exploration Ltd. - with an opportunity to learn more about the feasibility of this form of distributed generation./p>