Coal Hard Truth #skpoli

The Leader-Post may be giving kudos to the Sask Party’s singular focus on Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), but I won’t be. The primary reason CCS (clean coal) is getting so much Conservative and Sask Party government funding, is because it’s a hidden subsidy to the oil industry so that they can recover more oil from otherwise exhausted oil fields.

“We have a great story to tell,” Wall said.

We need more than a fairy tale, or a Sask Party narrative to save us from climate change. We need significant improvements in energy efficiency in our homes and transportation utilization, as well as plenty of increased investment in renewable energy.

On the question of overall provincial support for the environment, the NDP Opposition correctly notes the Sask. Party government cut funding for climate change activities by 73 per cent in the past two years. This is not exactly a great record for Wall when he goes to Pittsburgh or Washington to tout Saskatchewan’s clean energy.

Friends recently told me that PARC at the UofR had been cut significantly, since I last noted on my blog that PARC was a significant admission by the Sask Party that climate change is coming, and will be a huge economic and quality of life game changer. The lack of meaningful investment in renewable energy leaves Saskatchewan behind in the global economic situation emerging.

One year ago, the opposite from the oil industry:

“Our decision was essentially based on the fact that we could not see a way to make the economics of our CCS project work as we originally intended,” said Don Wharton, vice-president of policy and sustainability at TransAlta.

He said markets for pure carbon didn’t develop as expected, and federal and provincial governments took no steps to recognize the value of reduced emissions by implementing a price on carbon, for example, or a cap-and-trade system.

In short, despite nearly $800 million in government subsidies, the company had no incentive to invest in CCS.

The “Clean Coal” lie rolls on. Now it has a new timeline for implementation. Let’s collectively watch it be missed (again).

The government boasted at last week’s Boundary Dam symposium that the project will be up and running this fall and completed by next April, on time and on budget. It will reduce CO2 emissions at the plant by 90 per cent (one million tonnes a year) by shipping emissions 60 kilometres to Weyburn’s enhanced oil recovery project.

From 2009:

“The committee will complete work on the development phase by August 31, 2009, including a full project plan, engineering design, business plan, detailed budget and construction timeline.

With the financial support of the Governments of Canada and the United States, construction of the plant could begin as early as September 2009 and the plant could be operational as early as the summer of 2011. The goal for the reference plant is to test a range of technologies in the capture of up to one million tonnes of CO2 over a four-year period.”


10 responses to “Coal Hard Truth #skpoli

    July 13, 2012

    Mandryk: “That SaskPower “is not rebalancing the rates between customer classes with this application” will be a concern for many taxpayers. They have a right to question whether Premier Brad Wall’s government is truly committed to ensuring that large commercial clients are paying their fair share of our power. Unfortunately, such policy decisions are made by politicians who run the Marble Palace to the south of Wascana Lake. For decades now, we’ve seen such debatable and costly SaskPower decisions arguably made more for political reasons than practical ones – the building of the Shand power plant in Grant Devine’s riding, the NDP’s Channel Lake fiasco and aborted purchase of the Guyana Electrical Company and perhaps even the Sask. Party’s foray into costly clean coal.
    {emphasis added}
    “So when you’re looking at someone to be mad at when you’re hit with your higher power bills in the New Year, start with the politicians.”

  2. Mandryk, Murray. Star – Phoenix [Saskatoon, Sask] 14 Jan 2009: A.8.

    “Out of Canada’s 100 current biggest infrastructure projects, according to a story by Canwest News reporter Mike de Souza, guess how many are located in Saskatchewan? You got it — zero.

    Unless you include (the Canwest story didn’t) the $1.4-billion clean coal technology project at Boundary Dam to which the feds committed $240 million in last year’s budget, but is yet to get off the ground, Saskatchewan doesn’t even register in the top 100 infrastructure projects.

    These are the fine results delivered by our 13 Conservative MPs, who had the audacity to boast after the last budget that Saskatchewan got more per capita from their government than did any other jurisdiction. This is the treatment the hottest economy in Canada receives.”

  3. Media recognized CCS is for oil recovery.

    Sask., Alta. to lead push for carbon capture; Energy, environment take centre stage at premiers meeting
    Wood, James. Star – Phoenix [Saskatoon, Sask] 31 May 2008: A.6.

    “The prospect of capturing and storing CO2 to allow for low-emission coal-fired electricity plants and oilsands developments is an alluring one. But much of the technology is yet unproven, the costs involved are massive and there must be a use for the captured carbon such as enhanced oil recovery.”

  4. Sask., Montana to seek carbon capture cash
    Wood, James. Star – Phoenix [Saskatoon, Sask] 08 May 2009: A.7.

    “Carbon capture and storage projects have run into significant cost overruns in the past. The previous NDP government’s SaskPower clean-coal project was shelved in 2007 because of load growth, tight timelines and capital cost estimates that soared to $3.8 billion from $1.5 billion.

    Mary Griffiths, a climate change analyst recently retired from the Pembina Institute environmental think-tank, said cost issues remain and carbon capture involves expensive technology.

    One of the major concerns expressed about carbon capture projects is that the significant expense diverts money from sustainable energy and conservation and prolongs the use of fossil fuels. “

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