Saskpower testing steam blows for new power station

Chinook Power Station in Swift Current (Submitted photo)

Bailey Sutherland, Daily Herald

SaskPower’s new Chinook combined-cycle natural gas power station is close to completion. Starting on August 14th and continuing 24/7 for approximately 10 to 14 days, the gas turbine will be started up by performing steam blows. During this process they clean excess debris in steam lines to ensure the turbine can run smoothly, according to SaskPower.

These steam blows can cause noise, which SaskPower is planning on mitigating with a silencer. The anticipated noise level at the edge of the property will be about 85 decibels, which is about as loud as highway traffic. A plume of steam may be visible during the process.

The Chinook Power Station will help SaskPower to meet the growing demand for power in Saskatchewan, while providing reliable base-load power to support intermittent renewable generation, such as wind and solar and will provide replacement power for the retirement and/or refurbishment of conventional coal-fired generating units. A SaskPower media release says, “Combined cycle gas turbine technology is proven and highly efficient, meaning we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while keeping rates as low as possible”.

More than 1,800,000 hours of construction to the natural gas power station in Swift Current have taken place since they began in January of 2017, and SaskPower anticipates the power station will come online by the end of 2019. They have up to 650 workers on-site without injury, with the cost of the project estimating to be $680 million.

The 350-megawatt facility will generate enough electricity to power 350,000 when operational.

This announcement comes after an Alberta-based subcontractor, Solid Industrial Solutions, filed a claim against SaskPower in Swift Current’s Court of Queen’s Bench a few weeks ago. The company is  suing SaskPower over a lengthy payment dispute worth roughly $2.3 million. They accuse SaskPower of owing them for unpaid work on the Chinook Power Station. Solid Industrial Industries alleges they hay have been unable to pay their 64 subcontractors that worked on the project; they are allegedly owed a combined $1.8 million. The company plans on moving forward with a court action.