The President and CEO of SaskPower was in Estevan today speaking at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon about the future of power generation on the province, and specifically the southeast area.
Many of the questions he fielded from the crowd centred around the future of coal and carbon capture and storage.
"We have been working with the International Knowledge Centre," said Marsh in conversation with Discover Estevan, "on a study that has been hosted by the International Knowledge Centre with a company called JACOAL out of Japan. They are doing modeling on the potential of using a next-generation technology on carbon capture which has promise for Shand Power Station."
No decisions have been made yet and none will likely be forthcoming until 2024-25.
"Building another carbon capture facility at Shand would be a significant investment. We want to make sure we have accurate data and we evaluate any new technology with appropriate due diligence and care."
Marsh also spoke on other sources of power generation. Right now, natural gas accounts for 40% of the power, coal at 32%, hydro 20%, wind 5%, and CCS and other make up 3%. Unless an equivalency agreement can be agreed upon, coal units 4 and 5 at Boundary Dam will have to shut down on Dec 31, 2019. This leaves many in the area wondering about the future for the coal worker.
"I think that will be determined on how carbon capture technology can remain economically viable, technically viable and certainly under the regulatory environment allowed to continue to operate. We continue to monitor the regulatory environment and will continue to look at every possible way we can use carbon capture but we need to be able to use it in an economic responsible way."
SaskPower is also looking at expanding their power operations in both wind and solar power. The competitive process has already begun. The location for the future sites will be left up to the winning bidder, but that didn't stop many in the crowd from pleading Estevan's case as an attractive place to build.
"I can tell you based on our conversations with wind and solar companies, they are interested in the Estevan area. I would encourage the community and people to look at ways to maybe help these companies look at different sites that might have an acceptable environmental footprint."
"These companies will have to go through a provincial government environmental assessment and if they pass those tests and you're reasonably close proximity to distribution and transmission lines here. I think the site would have a preference just by its natural location. Continue to make the area attractive for that type of investment and you may be surprised at what develops here."