Carbon capture technology fuels NDP questions at Sask. Legislature

Questions about SaskPower's venture into carbon capture technology for its coal-fired power plant continue to dominate the political agenda in Regina where the opposition once again challenged the government on how the project is faring.

Premier says he will talk about ups and downs of the project

Saskatchewan's carbon capture technology, at the Boundary Dam power plant near Estevan, has been the focus of intense debate. (Troy Fleece/Canadian Press)

Questions about SaskPower's venture into carbon capture technology for its coal-fired power plant continue to dominate the political agenda in Regina where the opposition once again challenged the government on how the project is faring.

On Thursday, NDP Opposition leader Cam Broten pointed out that — earlier in the week — legislators in the U.S. Senate voted to overturn federal regulations requiring coal plants to use carbon capture technology.

As part of the American debate on the issue, Saskatchewan's experience at the Boundary Dam plant near Estevan was cited by senators including Joe Manchin from West Virginia.

"The EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] asserted in the final rule that the Boundary Dam facility has been operating full carbon capture sequestration successfully on a commercial scale since October 2014," Manchin, a Democrat, said in the U.S. Senate. "That is found to be totally untrue."

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin on SaskPower's Boundary Dam 1:58

Manchin is referring to recent information from SaskPower indicating the Boundary Dam plant has experienced a number of issues that have hampered its ability to reduce carbon emissions on a continual basis.

The NDP's Broten said Thursday that the Saskatchewan government and its power company are losing credibility when it comes to the project because of changing details about how the plant is working.

"The real outrageous thing to me is, Saskatchewan people — who are footing the bill for this and who deserve transparency, accountability — they're not getting it," Broten said. "Because for over a year we were told lies about how successful this was."

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said he will explain the ups and downs of the project when he meets with the Prime Minister on Monday.

"I'm going to make a point of talking about what's happened with carbon capture, both the challenges but also what's been happening on the re-start recently, and how our engineers are feeling and how the International Energy Agency feels about it, about the importance of the technology and crediting SaskPower for going forward with it," Wall said.

Wall is set to meet with the Prime Minister and his provincial counterparts in Ottawa, to talk about climate change ahead of international talks set for Paris.

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