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 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.
“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.”