The Future of Coal in Saskatchewan

Read our first report, Bridging the Gap, here (pdf)

The Future of Coal in Saskatchewan is an ongoing project that began in late 2017. The project has multiple strands exploring the prospects for a just transition to renewable energy across the province. You can find our first report, released in November 2018, here: Bridging the Gap

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.

Source: SaskPower

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.

We’ll be posting more results as they become available so stay tuned for more information. For now, you can find a couple of introductory videos along with a short podcast below.

This video offers a brief introduction to what we’re working on:

This video offers some more context, and a preview of a second upcoming report:

Check out our Bridging the Gap page to find our first research report, based on interviews with community members in Estevan and Coronach, Saskatchewan’s principal coal-producing communities.

Near the outset of this project, 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:

We would like to thank the Pembina Institute, the Council of Canadians, Eco-Friendly Sask, and the Corporate Mapping Project for supporting this work!

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