SaskPower and Kitsaki celebrate more than two decades of partnership
Kitsaki’s relationship with SaskPower began with a single project in 2011, when the province’s electric utility connected with former CEO Russell Roberts about the need to clear a 135-km right-of-way in northern Saskatchewan.
“Nature is part of our province’s great beauty, especially when it comes to the north,” said Kitsaki CEO Ron Hyggen. “But it also causes power outages and poses a serious safety risk.”
Over the next 18 months, Kitsaki teams cleared a stretch of land for a power line near Highway 102 between Brabant Lake and Key Lake, and Kitsaki Vegetation was born. This job planted the roots for a partnership that continues to grow more than two decades later.
“Suppliers like Kitsaki play a key role in the growth and evolution of our company,” said Rupen Pandya, President and CEO of SaskPower. “And I’m not just talking about quality service. Our partnership means innovating as we pursue common goals, building new relationships and growing capacity in all the communities we work with. I’m looking forward to continuing to work together to advance opportunities for growth in our province.”
Saskatchewan is one of the world’s most diverse power producers, home to a range of energy resources including natural gas, crude oil, coal, uranium and biofuels, as well as geothermal, wind and hydro. SaskPower operates seven natural gas, three coal-fired, and seven hydroelectric stations, and two wind facilities. The utility also purchases power from independent power producers. Combined, Saskatchewan’s total power generating capacity is over 5,400 MW of electricity serving more than 545,000 customers.
Serving a population of 1.2 million over 651,000 square kilometres, SaskPower maintains over 157,000 kilometres of distribution and transmission lines, the second-largest network of all Canadian utilities. By comparison, British Columbia, home to 5.07 million people living across 944,735 square kilometres, has an 80,000-kilometre network.
To keep the path clear, Kitsaki Vegetation uses internationally-recognized Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) practices, which include machine mulching with large equipment, sustainable and monitored herbicide application, hand slashing, and preventative methods like encouraging short grasses and shrubs that slow the growth of taller trees.
Over the years, Kitsaki’s relationship with SaskPower has expanded to include partnerships with other entities in the Kitsaki Group, including Athabasca Catering, CanNorth, and March Consulting. Teams on both sides now work together to plan and execute a range of projects across the province. This level of collaboration is necessary to complete major projects in the queue, and to aid SaskPower in meeting ambitious emission targets.
As both Hyggen and Pandya get closer to their one-year mark in the CEO seat of both Kitsaki and SaskPower, setting an example for sustainable collaboration within the industry remains a shared goal. The partnership’s achievements highlight the potential for corporations to unite in addressing pressing environmental challenges and creating economic opportunities for Indigenous communities in the province.
As businesses around the world look for ways to mitigate environmental changes, the Kitsaki-SaskPower partnership serves as a model, illustrating the impact that focused cooperation and innovative approaches can have on creating a sustainable path long into the future.
“The partnership’s achievements highlight the potential for corporations to unite in addressing pressing environmental challenges and creating economic opportunities for Indigenous communities in the province.”