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Natural gas power plant ready for operation in Swift Current, Sask.

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Natural gas power plant ready for operation in Swift Current, Sask.
SaskPower and the province celebrated the grand opening of the Chinook Power Station in Swift Current, Sask. on Friday. – Dec 7, 2019

Saskatchewan’s newest natural gas-fired power plant is ready to operate.

SaskPower and the province celebrated the grand opening of the Chinook Power Station in Swift Current, Sask., on Friday.

“Chinook will play a vital role in our province’s future by providing the power needed to support the goals set in Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan,” said Dustin Duncan, minister responsible for SaskPower.

The 353-megawatt facility is expected to generate enough electricity to power 350,000 homes using combined-cycle gas turbine technology.

“The facility will provide highly efficient baseload power, which will support intermittent renewable energy and help SaskPower meet its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030,” Duncan said.

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Natural gas power is known to be cost-effective and produces fewer carbon emissions when compared to coal.

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SaskPower said the project, which began in 2017, cost $605 million and was under budget.

“We are pleased to report that this significant project was completed on time, and $75 million under budget,” said Mike Marsh, SaskPower president and CEO.

“Building this facility required more than two million labour hours, and thanks to the careful work of everyone involved, only one time-lost injury occurred.”

The project created more than 500 jobs during construction. There are 25 workers operating the plant.

Throughout the project, there were a number of subcontractors under Alberta-based Solid industrial Solution (Solid) who were having trouble getting paid.

Solid was brought in by Burns and McDonnell (B&M), SaskPower’s engineering, procurement and engineering procurement and construction contractor for the project.

They said they were owed approximately $2.3 million by B&M with $1.8 million of that earmarked for Solid’s subcontractors.

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There was a pay dispute between the two companies regarding a chemical cleanup carried out by Solid.

B&M said Solid failed to complete the work and that they weren’t required to pay any of their subcontractors.

According to B&M, they have settled with 49 of 64 Solid’s subcontractors.

“We continue to maintain the position that it was Solid’s sole obligation to pay their subcontractors and we will seek cost recovery from Solid as part of the ongoing dispute resolution,” the company said in an email to Global News.

Files from David Baxter

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