Press Release: Analysis says SK can have a carbon-neutral electrical grid by 2040
Saskatchewan Environmental Society
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
For Immediate Release
“Analysis says Saskatchewan can have a carbon-neutral electrical grid by 2040”
In 2013, the Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES) produced a report, Yes They Can: A 2020 Vision for SaskPower. The report provided basic information concerning greenhouse gas emissions in Saskatchewan and the SaskPower electricity generation system. The report went on to discuss vulnerabilities and opportunities associated with the SaskPower system and presented 18 recommendations covering the short-term (2020), medium-term (2030) and long-term (2050). SES’s NEW report examines and updates the analysis and recommendations from the 2013 report and considers how close SaskPower has come to meeting those recommendations.
In the last several years, SaskPower has made very little progress on reducing GHG emissions. In its 2013 report, SES offered proposals as to how carbon emissions could be significantly reduced, but the slow pace of SaskPower’s transition to decarbonizing its power generation leaves the 2030 goals of reducing GHG emissions to 40 percent below 2005 levels and to having one-half of its generating capacity based on renewables by 2030, a challenge. The SES offers several recommendations for SaskPower’s consideration.
- SaskPower should commit to net-zero carbon emissions 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. Being net zero by 2040 would be an ambitious target but should be viewed in the context of the planet needing to be net zero by 2050.
- If a revised 2030 goal is to be met, SaskPower should pursue three options:
- Make a 1000 MW interconnection to Manitoba Hydro a high priority for completion by 2030.
- Continue to commission utility-scale wind farms up to the capability of the present grid. This would be in the order of 20 to 25 percent of capacity.
- Take the necessary steps to enable commissioning of utility scale solar stations by 2030. The target should be 500 MW of solar capacity.
- SaskPower should formally announce its intent to decommission the Poplar River Power Station by 2030. This would remove uncertainty and allow appropriate transitional measures to be put in place at Coronach.
- SaskPower should enhance its commitment to demand-side management to 500 MW.
- SaskPower should continue to seek cogeneration opportunities in the order of 500 MW.
- SaskPower should continue to investigate the feasibility of geothermal power production in the province.
- SaskPower should continue to work on smart grid and related grid modernization technologies so that renewable power can be successfully integrated into its system.
- SaskPower should pursue pilot projects related to energy storage using compressed air and large batteries and any other options. SaskPower should engage external expertise to develop a comprehensive plan for energy storage by 2023 and establish a pilot project by 2025.
“There is an opportunity to avoid costly overruns and stranded assets – the time is now for SaskPower to meet their modest greenhouse gas emission targets and to strengthen those targets,” says Bob Halliday, engineer and Vice-President of the SES. “There is a clear and sustainable path forward to SaskPower being carbon neutral by 2040 – and it’s time to get on with it.”
SES’s new report, Carbon-Free Electricity in Saskatchewan, can be found at: https://environmentalsociety.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/SaskPower-at-2020.pdf