DEAL NEAR ON COAL PLANTS

Prov­ince would com­mit to in­creased use of other sources of en­ergy

Regina Leader-Post - - FRONT PAGE - D.C. FRASER [email protected]­media.com Twit­ter.com/dcfraser

Saskatchewan and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment are ex­pected to soon have a for­mal agree­ment in place re­gard­ing how long the prov­ince’s coal-fired power plants can re­main on­line.

As it stands now, the prov­ince’s Shand Power sta­tion near Este­van could be­come a “stranded as­set.”

Although Shand was built to last un­til 2042, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s reg­u­la­tions dic­tate coal­fired power plants must be closed by 2030.

“For Shand that means ba­si­cally 12 years of a stranded as­set. We made the ar­gu­ment that we should be able to con­tinue to op­er­ate that plant,” Saskpower and En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Dustin Dun­can said this week.

If the prov­ince retrofits the project with car­bon cap­ture and stor­age (CCS) ca­pa­bil­i­ties, it will be able to stay on­line past 2030, as is the case at Bound­ary Dam 3, which already has CCS tech­nol­ogy at­tached to it.

A U.K. based study done last year de­ter­mined retrofitting Shand with CCS tech­nol­ogy would be cheaper than pre­vi­ous projects, but would still cost some­where around $1 bil­lion.

“Saskpower is cer­tainly go­ing to do a more de­tailed look at what the cost would be. That’s a decision that’s re­ally prob­a­bly in the mid­dle of the next decade, so we’re a fair num­ber of years away,” Dun­can said.

“It’ll have a num­ber of fac­tors that will be in­flu­enc­ing that decision; the price of al­ter­na­tives such as nat­u­ral gas, the price of re­new­ables, the abil­ity to in­te­grate re­new­ables to a greater ex­tent into the sys­tem, and of course the cost of not only build­ing a CCS unit, but op­er­at­ing it for the long term.”

Already the prov­ince an­nounced it does not plan to use the tech­nol­ogy on Bound­ary Dams 4 and 5.

But fol­low­ing a 60-day con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod which will end in Fe­bru­ary, Dun­can said he “looks for­ward” to for­mally sign­ing a new agree­ment that will ex­tend the life of those plants.

Bound­ary Dam 4 and 5 were, un­der fed­eral reg­u­la­tions, sched­uled to close by the end of 2019. But un­der the new agree­ment, they will be able to stay open un­til 2021 and 2024 re­spec­tively.

Dun­can said the agree­ment “helps Saskpower know what the fu­ture looks like.”

Este­van Mayor Roy Lud­wig echoed that sen­ti­ment, say­ing the even­tual clo­sure of those units will lead to around 100 jobs be­ing lost. How­ever, the ex­tra time al­lows Saskpower to find other po­si­tions for em­ploy­ees af­fected by the clo­sures.

He also ex­pressed hope the prov­ince de­ploys CCS tech­nol­ogy on Shand to “keep em­ploy­ment up.”

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau told re­porters Fri­day it is im­por­tant to phase out coal as an en­ergy source.

He says the agree­ment with Saskatchewan shows sup­port for the work­ers cur­rently em­ployed in the in­dus­try.

Un­der the ten­ta­tive new agree­ment, the prov­ince com­mits to hav­ing at least 40 per cent of its elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity come from non-emit­ting en­ergy sources by 2030 and Saskatchewan’s green­house gas emis­sions from elec­tric­ity pro­duc­ers will be limited to 175 mega­tonnes.

The prov­ince agrees to limit its elec­tric­ity sec­tor emis­sions to 33.5 mega­tonnes in 2019 and not ex­ceed 64.5 mega­tonnes be­tween 2025 and 2029.

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