Coming Soon: Chinook Power Station in Saskatchewan Projects Off-Site Fabrication for On-Site Assembly

Known as cowboy country, southwest Saskatchewan in Canada is home to a varied landscape of fields, rivers and rolling hills. In late 2019, the area will gain a new amenity in the Chinook Power Station, a 350-megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired power facility.

To comply with existing regulations to phase out conventional coal-fired generation and integrate intermittent renewables, SaskPower, a provincial Crown Corporation and Saskatchewan’s leading energy supplier, is working toward providing cleaner energy to the surrounding area. 

Building on a long-standing partnership, the company chose Burns & McDonnell to provide comprehensive engineer-procure-construct (EPC) services for the plant, which will be built on a greenfield site in a rural area near Swift Current. With engineering design underway, construction is expected to begin as early as January 2017, pending environmental approval. Once the plant is up and running, it’ll be a key player in SaskPower’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy. 

“Chinook Power Station is going to play a major part in helping SaskPower continue to meet a growing demand for power in Saskatchewan,” says Mike Marsh, SaskPower president and CEO. “We’re pleased to be teaming with Burns & McDonnell as our EPC contractor on this critical project.” 

The combined cycle facility will feature a Siemens SGT6-5000F gas turbine, a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) and a Siemens SST6-900 steam turbine to boost power output and maximize energy efficiency while reducing the overall emissions footprint. The highly efficient combined cycle operation will utilize exhaust heat that would otherwise be lost in a simple cycle configuration. The hot exhaust from the initial cycle is captured to boil water into steam in the HRSG and spin an additional generator to produce more power. The plant also will utilize advanced air cooling, making it more water-efficient than traditional combined cycle designs.

“There are several unique aspects to this project, both from a contracting standpoint and an execution standpoint,” says Dave Newkirk, a project manager at Burns & McDonnell. “From a contracting standpoint, Burns & McDonnell has guaranteed the price, schedule and the performance of the job to SaskPower. 

From an execution standpoint, we have the ability to ship oversized (at least 40-foot-wide) shipments within the province. The team is aggressively pursuing off-site fabrication — a unique approach on a combined cycle power application that doesn’t often make sense on U.S. projects — of pipe racks; large tanks; buildings; and equipment such as the air-cooled condenser, HRSG stack, large pump skids and more.”

During the three-year construction phase, approximately 500 craftsmen and tradesmen will be employed on the project, while SaskPower estimates that about 25 workers, ranging from operators to engineers, will be hired for station operation. With an aggressive plan to double its renewable generation capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent by 2030, SaskPower continues to work toward providing reliable, sustainable and cost-effective electricity to the people of its province.

What’s in the name?

The Chinook Power Station is named for the warm, dry Chinook winds that blow through from the Rocky Mountains, causing unseasonably warm weather for a short period of time. A native word, “Chinook” means “snow eater.” A commonly known and used term in southwest Saskatchewan, Chinook also is the name of the school division, golf course and library.

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