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New Siting Guidelines Strengthen Environmental Protection and Clarity for Future Wind Power Projects

Released on September 19, 2016

The Government of Saskatchewan has released new environmental siting guidelines for wind energy projects, designed to enhance environmental protection and provide more certainty to future wind energy developments.

“This framework will allow SaskPower the flexibility to work with wind energy developers to meet its goal of achieving 50 per cent renewable capacity by 2030,” Environment Minister Scott Moe said.  “By clearly identifying avoidance areas for wind energy developers, our government is demonstrating our commitment to make decisions that balance environmental responsibility with economic needs.  We look forward to ongoing discussions with industry partners as wind energy is further developed in Saskatchewan.”

A five kilometre buffer zone has been established around designated environmentally-sensitive avoidance areas such as national and provincial parks, ecological reserves, important bird areas and key Saskatchewan rivers.  In addition, proponents will still be required to evaluate wind energy project siting at areas outside of avoidance zones to ensure any potential environmental and wildlife impacts are still mitigated.  The guidelines were developed with industry and environmental stakeholders.

The siting recommendations will help to achieve specific outcomes for environmental mitigation, including:

  • Using best practices to minimize operational impacts,
  • Ensuring the site and associated infrastructure are reclaimed and restored to pre-development function;
  • Offsetting residual impacts, including disturbances to landscape; and
  • Monitoring outcomes to prove the success of mitigation actions.

“CanWEA is pleased to acknowledge the release of Saskatchewan’s new wind energy project siting guidelines today,” CanWEA President Robert Hornung said.  “CanWEA is encouraged that the Ministry of Environment, under the leadership of Minister Moe, has produced a results-based document that provides guidance for the wind energy industry as it works to limit impacts on biodiversity throughout the province, while working to meet the provincial commitment to 30 per cent wind generation capacity.”

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For more information, contact:

Ron Podbielski
Environment
Regina
Phone: 306-787-6595
Email: ron.podbielski@gov.sk.ca

Lejla Latifovic
Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA)
Phone: 613-234-8726 Ext. 241 | 1-800-922-6932

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