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​​Clean energy to create clean water: the kīsi­­­­kāw pīsim solar fa​​rm

The E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant (WTP) is essential to life in Edmonton and its metro region. Constructed more than 40 years ago, today it supplies more than 65% of all the water consumed in Edmonton and our surrounding communities.

Edmonton's City Plan envisions the region growing to 2 million people and beyond over the coming decade. Most of the water needed to serve that population will come from the E.L. Smith WTP. The facility is already EPCOR's second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions as a result of electrical energy used to pump water. As water demand and treatment volumes grow, reducing emissions from electricity consumption at the water treatment plant is essential for us to meet our emission reduction targets.

The kīsi­­­­kāw pīsim solar farm​ tackles this challenge directly. Once constructed, it will give the water treatment plant access to three sources of electricity:

  • Real-time solar power from approximately 31,000 panels that will make more than 20,000 megawatt hours of clean energy each year
  • Battery power as the on-site battery storage device is charged during the day, then used when it is needed most
  • Grid connection, which becomes a two-way resource through which we can indirectly share extra renewable power production with other EPCOR facilities

​The project is designed as a behind-the-meter smart grid. This means that the renewable power source is located next to the water plant, not on the grid. This enables the plant to directly access green power for its own needs and reduce its grid power consumption. It is a “smart grid" because the water plant, solar panels, and battery work together as a system. They're united by intelligent controls that optimize when the energy is stored and how it is used. 

Project partners include Natural Resources Canada, which is providing funding for the battery and smart grid system. Additional partnerships with post-secondary institutions will promote knowledge sharing and training on smart grid installations. ​

​Behi​nd the name

On May 4, 2022, EPCOR and Enoch Cree Nation (ECN) announced the name: kīsikāw pīsim solar farm, which means “daylight sun” in Cree. Enoch Cree Nation gifted the name to EPCOR this past January through a pipe ceremony with senior leadership of both the Nation and EPCOR.

In the spirit of reconciliation, EPCOR seeks to reconnect Enoch Cree Nation and its people with this important location, through this beautiful name. 

In the past, Indigenous people gathered here and drew strength from nature. Now, we honour and reconnect with our shared history through the name kisikaw-pisim,” and draw energy from the “daylight sun” that will help address the impact of climate change.

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Sol​ar farm spotlight

Once operating, the 12 megawatt solar installation is expected to:

  • Produce 21,500 megawatt hours of clean electricity annually
  • Supply 50% of power consumed at the water treatment plant
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 14,000 tonnes per year
Learn how the kīsikāw pīsim​ solar farm will produce clean water made with clean energy.



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The switch of the solar farm will soon be flicked on and EPCOR will begin powering Edmonton's largest water treatment plant with more than half the electricity it needs, through green energy. This unique project is furthering EPCOR's commitment to net zero GHG emissions, while also deepening relationships with Indigenous communities.​​

​​Benefits of the kīsikāw pīsim​ solar f​arm​

 

Making Edmonton a clean energy leader

We will achieve immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, advancing the City of Edmonton's energy transition strategy and creating momentum on climate leadership.

Using solar resulting in
clean water and clean energy

 

Expanded habitat and public parkland

The solar farm will actually add 31.5 acres of land to the river valley park system.

Solar Farm and
the Environment
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Creating a smart grid system

This project will allow us to store green energy in a battery system to add resiliency to the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant, and offer unique research and learning opportunities.

Battery energy
storage system
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2021 Update

In 2021, construction of the solar farm progressed with the project area cleared and re-graded for stormwater management, racking installed across the site and panel placement getting underway. Extensive design work was completed for the battery, which is now in transit to the site and, when activated, will store energy as part of the smart grid that will provide power for the plant.

The solar farm is expected to be completed and energized before the end of 2022.​​​