Will be? Naw, it has been for years. Still, SaskPower is building another 350MW of natural gas to go online in 2019, while building far less than 300MW of wind power by then. They’ve a target of 50% renewable generation by 2030, and still wind is far less than 5% of the grid total. Clearly they’re on the wrong track, and costing rate payers money.
“Our principle here … is that we do no further harm to an economy that already has its hands full.” – Brad Wall
“We’ve always been in competition,” said Boyd about Saskatchewan and Alberta competing for oil and gas investment. “Certainly we’ve had productive conversations here in Calgary.”
Why would we want to compete with Alberta? Competition drives the price of extracting our non-renewable resource down and means lower royalty payments upon which much of our economy is based.
Obviously Wall and Boyd in the Sask Party are working from the perspective that they have to get the best, lowest rate for Big Oil companies. They’re supposed to be considering what is best for Saskatchewan’s people, however. I’m sure they are not influenced by their former Minister McMillian who is now head spokesperson for the oil and gas industry in Canada.
“Today, there continues an existential threat to this industry, this industry that is so important in my province,” Wall told an appreciative luncheon crowd.
The Saskatchewan government didn’t do a good job acquiring land for the Global Transportation Hub near Regina and as a result paid too much, the provincial auditor says.
It seems routine for this Sask Party government to never be found technically corrupt while they continually deliver poor deals for tax/rate payers, and great deals for their friends in the Oil and Gas industry.
Another example of the Saskatchewan government giving up in favour of corporations over citizens.
“Province abandons low-income housing project after cost overruns
48-unit apartment building reverts to private developer – renting at market rates”
Mike Marsh, president and CEO of Sask-Power, writes:
…The technology at Boundary Dam is the first of its kind and, as with other technologies, we expect the price to drop as it develops. The BD3 CCS project is on track to meet our goal of capturing 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2016 – equal to taking over 200,000 cars off our roads.
People are using more electricity than before and we need to expand our fleet. We also need to invest in costlier forms of generation to meet challenges presented by climate change and record growth. These types of investment will impact rates, but to suggest CCS doubles rates is simply false.
They were spreading misinformation about solar power just the other week. This is the organization whose VP told me solar wouldn’t be cost effective for utilities in the “northern hemisphere”, as Spain already had a utility solar plant in production, and many more have since been built all over North America.
SaskPower was just “required to supply a minimum volume of CO2 to Cenovus, with Cenovus having the option to buy 100 per cent of production”, Wall’s office said, adding the contract was renegotiated and that Watson’s 2013 comments “were aspirational at the time, not reflective of the contract that was signed in the end.”
In no small irony, this information came to the Leader-Post the same day the newspaper ran a letter to the editor from current SaskPower president and CEO Mike Marsh, who felt he needed to “correct the record” on “misinformation about the cost of carbon capture and storage.”
This clip makes it seem as if CCS is more about producing gas to enhance oil recovery, and not so much about trapping a dangerous byproduct of dirty electricity production.
As a result of the renegotiation though, Cenovus is not required to take 100 per cent of the CO2 output, meaning less revenue coming into SaskPower.
Marsh said Cenovus is buying “more than 50 per cent of the production, but I’m not going to give you an exact figure.”
He said specifics of the new deal won’t be disclosed, citing a confidentiality agreement.
Marsh said Boundary Dam is capturing about 2,700 to 2,800 tonnes of CO2 each day, or a little less than 90 per cent of the output of which it’s supposed to be capable.
Production has been slowed, he said, because Cenovus “does not need the full amount, so we don’t need to produce the full amount.”
Why would production of gas be slowed? Wouldn’t it depend entirely upon how much electrical demand there is, not demand for the waste carbon dioxide? After all, BD3 has been sold to the public as a means of offsetting greenhouse gas production of coal electricity. If gas is produced, just store it, right?
I hope the geniuses at SaskPower and the Sask Government calculated the lost revenue from selling less gas to Cenovus, and we’re not going to lose more than $91Million from the renegotiation. Because they won’t give us the figure roughly between 50-90%, calculation may be harder for the public to confirm they didn’t screw up again to the tune of millions.
Is the Premier still planning on selling this technology if it depends upon a hidden sale value the public can’t even see now?
UPDATE: And important update is now available to this story
SaskPower’s latest consultant on renewable energy might be Pinocchio.
Their misinformation about renewable energy intentionally leaves out the point that our power mix is not entirely coal, hydro, or natural gas today, so it wouldn’t make sense to power every aspect of our grid with only PV solar which presently depends upon storage to deliver power on very cloudy days and at night. We can however, use solar to reach 100% renewable power on our grid’s mix. I’ve previously outlined two plausible ways this could be done with existing technology.
A report by a little known government entity says what I have been saying about pipelines stranding assets:
Its overall conclusion, however, urges caution when it comes to long-term investments in pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure.
Such investments “could be at high risk of becoming economically unviable as prices in renewable electricity further decline,” it warns.
I happened to also be writing the Leader Post to question why its columnist wrote that coal isn’t going away for a foreseeable 30-40 years!
In response to Bruce Johnstone’s “Carbon capture critics see the world the way it should be, not the way it is”, there are some apparent inaccuracies.
One needs only to look to SaskPower’s own predictions of the power mix in 2030 to learn that coal-fired generation as it exists today, will cease to exist in only 14 years. The Conservatives, hardly traditional climate change fighters, passed this into law. Johnstone’s prediction that it “is unlikely to decline significantly in the next 30 or 40 years.” seems out of step with what is most likely.
It’s unclear why a technology that doesn’t exist is listed as a possible silver bullet, rather than examining geothermal which the Premier and SaskPower both have said could come to our aid in short years.
Johnstone feels the $1.5 billion invested in CCS is a solution, but in his own words “defeat[s] its own purpose”, through its enhanced oil recovery. Isn’t it a bit like taking material to patch a hole in the bow of your boat, from the hull of the stern?
Johnstone cites MIT’s Herzog as believing “that renewables alone cannot help us achieve our climate change goals”, but there are other experts like Stanford’s Mark Z. Jacobson who believe they can. Regina’s Dr. Brett Dolter can explain other possibilities for Saskatchewan’s grid that leave coal and CCS in the past, while renewable energy sources build the province and economy.
“It is increasingly plausible to foresee a future in which cheap renewable electricity becomes the world’s primary power source and fossil fuels are relegated to a minority status,” concludes Policy Horizons Canada.
Yet Johnstone concludes with, “So it would be a huge mistake, not to mention a huge waste of taxpayers’ money, to give up on carbon capture now.”
This runs completely contrary to the advice from Policy Horizons Canada.
“[We] suggest that governments ensure that the risks of further investments in oil and gas infrastructure be borne by private interests rather than taxpayers,” the report reads.”
SaskPower is a public interest and bears the risk of CCS. While Cenovus, a private venture, benefits from the waste CO2 production.
Whose perspective is Johnstone arguing for?
Alternate shorter version below, the word limit was 250, instead of 350.: