SaskPower is in the midst of a public consultation process and your input is needed to help plan our power future. The current phase of the public consultation is entitled “Understanding your Priorities” and the survey is expected to run until the end of March, 2023. The survey can be accessed here by scrolling down to the “stage 2 survey.” On that same page you can also find the results of the Stage 1 consultation entitled “Getting to know you” that was completed in the fall of 2022.
Saskatchewan has the best solar resources in Canada, and we also have great wind resources too. Why then has SaskPower not developed these renewable sources? The common narrative we hear is that the wind doesn’t always blow, nor the sun always shine. Although that may be true, many other countries have found ways to accommodate renewable energy intermittency with interconnections to neighboring jurisdictions, energy storage options, energy efficiency initiatives, and by demand side management.
One of the fastest ways to promote renewable energy in Saskatchewan is to expand interprovincial high voltage transmission lines. Investments in interprovincial transmission improve reliability and flexibility within and between grids with high shares of variable renewable electricity. This study shows that increased investments in interprovincial transmission facilitate adding high levels of wind and solar generation to the grid. Provincial governments and their utilities must cooperate and invest in the infrastructure to enable clean electrons to flow across provincial borders.1
Climate scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have confirmed the devastating impacts of dangerous climate change in a world where global average temperatures rise by more than 1.5C.2 There is an international scientific consensus that global emissions of climate-warming GHGs must be reduced to “net zero” — or the point at which the “flow” of human caused GHG emissions (chiefly, carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere is balanced with human removals of GHGs — as soon as possible. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has stated that “we are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing” and “we are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.”3
Over the last decade, SaskPower has been executing a coal to gas transition. Although this will reduce the emissions coming from our provincial electricity supply, it is not compatible with a net-zero future. Ongoing emissions from new gas fired power plants built today will continue to emit dangerous pollution for decades.
To achieve net zero, the most credible and impactful path is to stop burning fossil fuels by replacing fossil energy, largely with electricity, and decarbonizing our electrical supply. Therefore, decarbonization of the electricity supply needs to be one of the highest priorities on the path to achieving net zero.
We need SaskPower to commit to a net-zero electrical grid and set a goal to decarbonize our grid by 2035 or 2040 at the latest. Saskatchewan can generate excess renewable energy that can be exported to other markets.4 What we need most urgently is to build interprovincial transmission lines and enter into intertie agreements with our neighbors. Expanded interprovincial transmission capacity removes the barriers to wind and solar development in Saskatchewan and is the lowest cost pathway to reduce emissions from our electricity supply.
SaskPower and the Saskatchewan government are on the wrong path in pursuit of the coal to gas transition. That path cannot deliver a net-zero grid. Furthermore, they intend to continue that path while distracting the public with promises of nuclear power in 10-20 years to eventually reduce emissions from our electricity supply.
We should not take their bait.
Instead, we must push for interprovincial transmission capacity that will accelerate the development of clean wind and solar power today. We must ask ourselves: what do we want our province remembered as? A pioneer in renewable energy and key player in decarbonization or, a province that is looked back on in history as regressively having its head in the sand? We have an opportunity to shape Saskatchewan’s energy future—let’s take it.
You can help by:
- Participating in the ongoing SaskPower public consultation
- Subscribing to the SaskPower consultation email list
- Signing and sharing this petition asking for federal funding to build the Canadian Clean Energy Corridor
- Writing letters to your MP and MLA
- Installing your own solar power on your home or contributing to a solar cooperative
- Talking to your friends and family about our power future and the need for interprovincial transmission capacity