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Moose Jaw Express July 18, 2018

SASKPOWER SHOWS PROGRESS TOWARDS 2030 EMMISION REDUCTION TARGETS AND SUPPORTS PRAIRIE RESILIENCE STRATEGY

SaskPower released its annual report last week. In 2017-18, SaskPower invested $996 million in upgrading the provincial power grid. The investment went towards updating the power grid to improve the reliability of the network and continue to support economic growth in the province.

SaskPower saw a 5.4% increase in power demand this past year which is the equivalent of adding 150,000 homes to the power grid. It is of interest to not that even with the increase in power demands, SaskPower kept on track to exceed federal emission regulations by 2030. The carbon capture and storage process at Boundary Dam Power Station surpassed two million tonnes of captured carbon dioxide since start-up, the equivalent of removing 500,000 vehicles from our roads.

The corporation is currently on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 2005 levels by 2030. In order to help meet this target, SaskPower recently concluded the competitive bid process on Saskatchewan’s first 10 MW utility-scale solar project.

To further meet SaskPower’s emission reduction targets, a request for proposal was recently completed for a 200 megawatt wind generation project. An announcement regarding the project can be expected this fall.

In late 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unilaterally announced that he would impose a carbon tax on all provinces. Saskatchewan responded with a resounding “no”.  A carbon tax would have devastating effects on our economy and has not proven to reduce carbon emissions in other jurisdictions.  A carbon tax would make us less competitive in the global market. Seventy percent of Saskatchewan people oppose a carbon tax. Focusing on innovation and technology would be a better plan to actually reduce emissions. That is why we released Prairie Resilience: A Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy last December.

Prairie Resilience focuses on the principles of readiness and resilience, while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapting to the effects of climate change – without a carbon tax.  It is broader and bolder than a single policy approach and will achieve better results.  It includes setting sector-specific output-based performance standards on large emitting facilities, such as those in oil and gas, and mining. By 2030 our strategy will result in a 40% reduction in emissions from electrical generation, and a 40-45% reduction from methane.

Saskatchewan already has a good story to tell in reducing emissions. Since 2005, emissions intensity is down 8.8% while Gross Domestic Product is up 22%.  In agriculture, zero-till practices and pulse crops offset 13.4 million tonnes of emissions.  Our grasslands, wetlands and forests act as carbon sinks, reducing carbon from the atmosphere.  Our target of doubling our renewable energy by 2030 is the most aggressive renewable energy goal in Canada.

According to a new study from the University of Regina’s Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Communities, a federal carbon tax could reduce Saskatchewan’s gross domestic product (GDP) by almost $16 billion, with little effect on emission reduction. This research and economic modelling show a carbon tax of $50 per tonne would reduce the provincial GDP by an estimated $1.8 billion, while only reducing emissions by less than one megatonne. The federal government has not released the details of its carbon cost model.

Our government is committed to find ways to work with business and industry to reduce emissions by creating a plan that focuses on a broader scope rather than an ineffective tax that will come off the backs of Saskatchewan people.