Saskatchewan says a 'net-zero' power grid for the province would cost taxpayers $40 billion

'If you think about where the city of Saskatoon receives [its] power, January 1, 2035, is a [frigid] morning in Saskatoon because the lights won't come on and the furnace fans won't work,' said Premier Scott Moe.

Saskatchewan says a 'net-zero' power grid for the province would cost taxpayers $40 billion
Facebook/ Steven Guilbeault
Remove Ads

Saskatchewan has had it with Ottawa’s obsession on ‘net-zero’ power grids.

Dustin Duncan, the minister responsible for Saskatchewan’s electricity provider, SaskPower, said the costs to construct a carbon-neutral power grid by 2035 would be $40 billion.

"Aside from the plan that we've already put forward, 2035 significantly constrains our ability to actually deliver on our plan of 2050," he said on Tuesday.

That would require all electricity to either come from renewable sources, such as wind or hydro, or to be equipped with carbon capture technology.

"We’re not disagreeing with net zero. It’s really just the timelines," reiterated the minister.

Since May, Premier Scott Moe has expressed his concerns publicly on the cost of closing natural gas electrical plants and shutting down its three coal plants, which capture carbon. 

Phasing out conventional coal by 2030 and pursuing a carbon-neutral power grid by 2035 would spike utility bills for residents, he said.

"If you think about where the city of Saskatoon receives [its] power, January 1, 2035, is a [frigid] morning in Saskatoon because the lights won't come on and the furnace fans won't work," Moe told reporters then.

As a result, the Saskatchewan Party and NDP Opposition voted unanimously May 17 to support the province's plan for affordable, reliable power generation.

According to Pipeline Online, Saskatchewan (84%) relied heavily on natural gas and coal to satisfy its energy demand last winter. 

"It's about what's affordable and about what's possible versus some ideological policy that may come from another level of government," said Moe. 

However, federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault has repeatedly claimed the regulations would not impose unfair costs or cause reliability problems.

Environment Canada estimates the average household energy bill would increase by $35 to $61 per year by 2040 — of which only 2% is caused by the regulations.

Following the May 17 vote, Guilbeault told Saskatchewan it could not operate coal-fired power plants past 2030 without technology to reduce carbon emissions.

"We don’t know if (carbon capture) would exist in time and, even if it did, would it actually meet the standard prescribed in the regulation?" said Duncan.

According to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (EPA) framework, provinces must either decommission their coal power plants, transition them to natural gas, or outfit them with carbon-capture systems by 2030. To ignore the framework would constitute a Criminal Code violation, said Guilbeault.

In May, Moe clarified the province may operate its three coal plants beyond 2030 until the early 2040s. "We are interested in running those assets to the end of their life, which is 2042 and 2044," he said.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads