SaskPower Is Going To Miss Target

March 16, 2017
Dear Editor,
People should be asking how SaskPower intends to meet the 50% renewable electricity by 2030 target set by the Premier over a year ago. Since that announcement, a 350 MegaWatt (MW) natural gas burning plant has been planned for opening in 2019. A 170 MW wind installation is planned for southwest Saskatchewan. This week SaskPower is consulting with Saskatchewanians about a proposed 60 MW solar addition to the grid by 2021. And 1 MW of natural gas created by human activity at the Regina landfill, has just come online this month.
According to SaskPower, over 90% of the power produced within Saskatchewan comes from fossil fuel sources. We import hydro from Manitoba, and generate some in Saskatchewan. A bit more hydroelectricity is planned at Tazi Twe, to add 50 MW by 2019. A little more at Saskatoon’s delayed river hydro project.
Not to bore you with basic math, but 350-170-60-50+1 = 71 MW more will come from burning fossil fuels to be added to the grid within the next 4 years. Their “Renewables Roadmap” lists only 210 MW more for wind and solar to be called for by this quarter in their Request for Proposals. This leaves a huge renewable electricity shortfall to be fixed in the remaining 9 years. Does SaskPower have an answer to this? Does the Premier? Are they hoping no one notices?

Letter to MLA regarding STC Closure/Privatization

Dear Mrs. Beaudry-Mellor:

I’m dismayed by your government’s cut of all rural SK bus service. This is a horrible decision that isolates people in small towns and cities, and harms people who cannot drive including people who are blind, or unable or unwilling to operate a private motor vehicle. It will increase the cost of healthcare delivery. Package delivery to rural Saskatchewan is also harmed. Charter buses will be harder to obtain in our province now too.

Rather than cut an essential public transportation service that will literally never be offered by the private sector or even a co-operative (because it will never make money), the PST could have been raised to 6.5%. This would pay to improve public transportation across the province. Did you realize that your government gives close to $0/year to regular public transportation, which makes it a Canadian anomaly. In an increasingly urbanizing province, might it be a good idea to ensure people don’t sit in traffic jams daily? One could assume that the SaskParty doesn’t care about public transportation, people without cars in rural Saskatchewan, or building solutions to reduce air pollution.

I hope you can work to reverse this short-sighted cut, because I fear that once the service is privatized, another responsible government will not take the time to build a crown service that is required for prosperity in rural Saskatchewan.

Sincerely,

John Klein

Regina

P.S. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is no doubt overjoyed by this privatization. I asked them in 2015 for an example of a private bus service that would serve as the model for one in Saskatchewan to use if we lost STC. They suggested one in Hong Kong. Seriously. Saskatchewan is so much like Hong Kong apparently. I guess if you don’t reverse the cut, the SaskParty could bring in consultants from Hong Kong to help. If they cost less than $12Mil to consult, you’d still save money.

Sights in Hawai’i

Last month I went with Jeri to Hawaii for a long-planned, pre-booked vacation. I wouldn’t have intentionally gone to Trump America, it just worked out that way. I had planned on spending a day at Pearl Harbor, but did in a different way. The historic sites would have cost over $100 each, and I’ve grown a little tired of the American US Park-style presentation of US history. So we skipped it (but not entirely).

I started the warm day by walking to the airport after taking the bus. That was an adventure. We stopped in Edmonton, then we had supper in Vancouver airport Canucks’ bar after US pre-clearance security. They now have you scan your own passport, as they take your photo, and ask you basic questions about your trip. Then a human looks at the paper later and asks you questions again, before waving you through to the USA while still in the airport.

We flew over what looked to be Victoria on Vancouver Island, then the sun went all the way down as it outran us, and the ocean below was completely dark. It was my first over-ocean flight. Eventually we reached the Hawaiian islands, and I snapped some photos of what I guess was Honolulu below, before we landed. The airport was not busy at that time of night, and the ad at the luggage claim said there was a shuttle available. I’d also read about it in a travel book on the plane. Their ticket selling person was not visible, so we and others had to wait at the shuttle for them to come along and process our payments, but eventually we got into Waikiki after a short drive. The security guard at our building gave us the key that had been set aside for us, and we were in our room in no time.

The waterway north of Waikiki beach was polluted. There was an unprotected bike lane, in the door-zone, down the busy one-way street beside it.
classic car parked on street
The walkway was attractive, and well used by joggers and cyclists.

Tiny birds no bigger than a cigarette

litter in waterway

litter in waterway

Several busy intersections were blessed with scramble crossing.
Scramble crossing

The view of the sunset from the first building we stayed in, wasn’t entirely spectacular, but was still special.
Sunset
There was a man below in the street shouting at traffic for hours. We had a nap, and he was still/or back at it when we woke. The time difference was 6 hours, so jet lag was definitely a thing. 3pm felt almost like bedtime in energy levels. One the upside, we could get up at 7am with no problem at all.

continued…

STC Bus Service Couldn’t Survive the SaskParty

This news makes me so mad and disappointed. The future of Saskatchewan got a little more bleak today.

“What are the core services that people expect from government – and it is not necessarily a bus company,” Finance Minister Kevin Doherty said Wednesday.

“As for the short window of time before service ends, the province said new buses were on order and they would have to pay for them.

One of the worst parts of this is that the effing CTF finally gets their way. Now there’s no feasible means to exist in a small town without a car. If you’re blind, or can’t drive, you’re screwed. It’s a heartless cut that hurts seniors, environmentalists, people with disabilities who cannot drive, and makes life less likely to thrive in small town Saskatchewan.

ADDED:

“You guys don’t know what you’re doing to small communities. Think about the little people.”

One Nigerian immigrant doesn’t know how she’ll bring her daughter into Saskatoon for medical appointments. An elderly Saskatoon woman said she won’t be able to travel anymore to the Manitou Springs Resort and Mineral Spa near Watrous. Another man lamented the loss of parcel service as he headed to pick up some car parts ordered from Prince Albert.

My life is shutting down

It’s the sort of problem that cannot be solved without government support. If people could form a co-operative and offer replacement service, they would, but they simply wouldn’t make enough money to offer this vital link between communities. It cannot be overstated what a body blow this is to rural Saskatchewan, and that even includes cities like Weyburn, Humboldt, and Yorkton.

Sustainable Fossil Fuel Myths

I think the Fossil Fuel industry isn’t going to manage to sustain their myths. They say things that a kid with a 5th grade education should figure out are not true.

Burning natural gas is not sustainable. It’s a fossil fuel. It will run out, and it produces waste gas that contributes to climate change. Yet their project engineer Keith says it produces, “sustainable electricity that is reliable and also good for the environment.”

I looked this place up, and it looks like it would be a terrifically efficient natural gas power plant. Unfortunately it still isn’t sustainable, and does not produce renewable energy. I flew over the site west of Edmonton in February and looked it up to figure out if it was coal or natural gas they were burning. It’s not really clear to me what’s causing that smoke.

Alberta natural gas power Sundance 7

Saskatchewan is familiar with Premier Wall pushing the incorrect idea that burning fossil fuels is “sustainable”.

SaskParty Math Rivals SaskPower’s

This has been a known problem for months, but who else is talking about the Premier breaking another promise?

Trudeau’s Second Face Speaks Up For Big Oil

The Prime Minister caught a lot of heat for speaking the truth the other month about shutting down the Tar Sands. Then, predictably after furious backpedaling, he let the other side of his face speak about what the Liberals will really allow to permit our climate’s destruction.

“No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there,” Trudeau said in his address to oil and gas industry executives at Houston’s CERAWeek conference, discussing Alberta’s vast oil sands reserves.

What country should just leave them in the ground? Every damned one. The hypocrite actually says in his speech that he wants to leave the planet better than he found it. Next he claims to be an innovation leader, all the while building 20th century style pipelines for fossil fuels.

It makes me angry that he doesn’t understand the world’s carbon budget still, and seeks to exceed it to our ultimate detriment.