Saskatchewan

Environmental group says SaskPower needs more urgency in reaching emission goals

A new report released Tuesday from the Saskatchewan Environmental Society says SaskPower has decent goals for the future, but there seems to be little sense of urgency to meet or exceed them. 

Crown corporation should commit to net zero by 2040, Saskatchewan Environmental Society report says

Pipes and tanks snake around the inside of a carbon capture and storage facility at the Boundary Dam Power Station in Estevan, Sask., in this 2014 photo. A new report says SaskPower should enhance its current goal to ensure one-half of its power generation comes from renewables by 2030. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press)

A new report released Tuesday from the Saskatchewan Environmental Society says SaskPower has decent goals for the future, but there seems to be little sense of urgency to meet or exceed them.

This new report is an update on a 2013 SES analysis the group produced on the Crown corporation's environmental goals.

Right now, SaskPower says it's on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The corporation also wants to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The environmental society said in its report that SaskPower should commit to net zero by 2040.

"To support this, its current 2030 goal should be enhanced to a goal of having one-half of its power generation from renewables by 2030," a part of the report reads. 

The report wasn't all doom and gloom. Bob Halliday, vice-president of the environmental group, said SaskPower is doing well in certain areas.

"They are headed in the right direction on wind power," he said during a news conference Tuesday. 

"A number of new significant wind generating facilities will be implemented."

Halliday said the cost of solar has gone down since his group drafted its original report, making it easier for SaskPower to catch up on solar production. 

Joel Cherry, spokesperson with SaskPower, said the Crown corporation is taking a lot of steps in the right direction. He said the transition can be difficult because customers need a baseline source of power that doesn't depend on the weather. Right now, a lot of that baseline power comes from coal and natural gas.

"Going forward, we're going to have to change the way we generate power," he said. 

SaskPower is adding more natural gas plants in the province to continue to have that baseline, but that won't help the corporation in its goal of increasing generating capacity from renewable sources to 50 per cent by 2030.

Cherry added that SaskPower is reviewing the report and that it welcomes feedback on its plans. 

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