A wind power proponent says the latest SaskPower rate increases may be just the beginning of increasing electrical rates in the province.

SaskPower is asking for two rate increases this year — five per cent this summer and another five per cent in January.

President of SaskWind James Glennie says a report from Canada's parliamentary budget office shows carbon capture technology will double the price of power generated from the project.

Glennie says SaskPower's wholesale cost of power is about $60 per megawatt hour. The report pegs the cost of removing carbon dioxide through carbon capture at Boundary Dam Unit 3 at about the same price.

"So essentially what the report is saying is if you, obviously, add on $60 a megawatt hour for carbon capture that is effectively doubling the wholesale price of power," Glennie said.


CO2 is captured from a coal-fired generation unit at Boundary Dam in Estevan. (Troy Fleece/Canadian Press)

The minister responsible for SaskPower, Bill Boyd, says he hasn't read the report by the parliamentary budget office, but he says reducing greenhouse gas emissions isn't cheap.

"It's something that I think the people of Saskatchewan are aware of," Boyd said. "They know very well that the cost of mitigation in these areas is expensive. The cost of any kind of other alternative sources of energy are going to be expensive as well."

But Glennie says the price of wind power has plummeted in recent years, to a level that makes it comparable with natural gas. 

Wind Energy

SaskWind's president, James Glennie, says the price of wind power has plummeted in recent years. (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)

He says his group, SaskWind, will be announcing a combined wind and solar project in Saskatchewan's southwest in the next week or two. 

Glennie says the $80-million project will be community owned, with shares sold around the province. 

SaskPower notes that it, too, is working to add more wind and solar projects to the province's power generation fleet. 

The government has promised that by 2030, half of its power will come from renewable sources.