Canada has made a phase-out of traditional coal-fired electricity generation a centrepiece of its GHG emissions reductions strategy, and for good reason – although coal produces approximately 10% of the country’s electricity, it produces more than 75% of the country’s electricity-related emissions. On top of that, coal pollution is a significant health risk for many Canadians. Of course, the distribution of coal varies across the country, and in fact only 4 provinces continue to rely on coal for electricity, and Saskatchewan and Alberta account for more than 85% of all coal burned in the country. While Alberta has developed its own plan to phase-out coal generation by 2030, Saskatchewan currently has no serious plans when it comes to coal, which is a serious problem.
In 2016 coal accounted for over 40% of SK’s power generation. Alarmingly, in the province’s 2017 climate change strategy, Prairie Resilience, coal is barely mentioned and only in relation to exploring the viability of further Carbon Capture and Storage implementation, despite the fact that SaskPower has cast doubt on the future of CCS.
CJS believes this province can move past coal towards renewable electricity generation, and we’re currently working on a research project to make this case. This includes addressing both technical and social challenges, so our group will be both modelling renewable energy choices and engaging with coal-producing communities to bridge the gap between folks in the province on this issue.
Watch this space for updates in the weeks to come. We’ll be posting on social media, writing blog posts, discussing the project on our radio show, and more. If you’d like to know more or get involved, please get in touch at climateactionsk[at]gmail[dot]com.
For now, take a look at this video, which provides a brief introduction to our work:
Back in November we sat down with Dr. Andrew Watson, professor in the Department of History and the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan, and chatted about his work examining the history of coal in Canada. Listen here:
(Header photo credit: Wtshymanski, Wikimedia Commons)