The Government of Saskatchewan has put forth new coal fired electricity regulations that will reduce emissions and perhaps be the next step towards an equivalency agreement with the federal government.
"With these regulations," explained Estevan MLA, Lori Carr, "SaskPower will have financial and regulatory flexibility for managing the emission reductions across the generating fleet. So SaskPower can continue to operate coal units past their federal shut down dates by out-preforming federal emission reduction requirements on a fleet-wide basis."
"So because of our carbon capture, it allows us some flexibility that we have running right now."
Carr added that these regulations could be the next step toward working out an equivalency agreement.
"These regulations actually are required for us to finalize an equivalency agreement with the feds. We don't have that yet, but having these regulations in place will help with that."
Without an equivalency agreement, the federal government would require each individual unit that does not meet the emissions standards to shut down by 2030.
"This is kind of like averaging out your units. Because carbon capture does such a fantastic job, 90% reduction in emissions, we can actually take some of those savings and kind of transfer them as a credit to the units that have higher emissions."
"Any step in that direction that will allows us to possibly use coal further into the future is a move in the right direction."
SaskPower released a statement in reaction to the new regulations.
“SaskPower welcomes an agreement that will recognize that we have captured and stored 1.75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide since successfully launching carbon capture sequestration on Boundary Dam 3,” SaskPower CEO and President Mike Marsh said. “We are also developing greener ways of generating electricity. Having flexibility will allow us to deliver reliable and moderately-priced electricity and meet growing demand with a diversified generation portfolio that includes wind and solar. We’ve set an aggressive target of up to 50 per cent generation capacity from renewables by 2030.”