This letter appeared in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on Saturday.
In response to Kurt Soucy’s letter about the cost of powering the entire provincial grid with Photovoltaic (PV) solar power, I’d like to voice my support for his idea. It’s also possible to power every Saskatchewan household with concentrated solar thermal power plants similar to what’s already operating in California at Ivanpah. We’d need only three of those plants, and with a modification to their design, the solar power would be available into the night, using heat storage.
Mr. Soucy’s solar PV idea is sound also, and by aiming at powering only 410,000 households* instead of businesses too, we’re sure to have a diverse mix of power available for every electrical customer. Ivanpah took only 3 years to build, so at that pace, we could be most of the way to completely on renewable energy by 2020. The cost of 1 Ivanpah was $2.18 billion (USD), so 3 would be approximately $6.6 billion (USD).
The Premier just proposed we take another look at nuclear power, despite polling last year which indicated most people in Saskatchewan are opposed. Nuclear power can’t compete with the profitability of renewable energy, so I welcome a series of “[Solar] Power to Grow” forums held by the provincial government around the province. These forums were called for by citizens** during the Uranium Development Proposal (UDP) of 2009. Now that the Premier has suggested we need to revisit the UDP, this time we should give the spotlight to renewable energy. We stand to eliminate most of our carbon pollution, and lower our future utility bills if we make the best choices.