5 Questions with Guy Bruce on SaskPower’s Renewable Energy Target
November 23, 2015
Have questions about our plan to have up to 50% renewable power by 2030? We sat down with Guy Bruce, Vice-President, Planning, Environment and Sustainable Development at SaskPower, to learn more.
Will pushing for an ambitious target on renewable power impact my bill?
The cost for adding more renewables will depend on a number of factors, including the cost of technologies, emissions regulations, future natural gas prices and system integration costs. Based on existing technology, we estimate that achieving our renewable energy target will be less than $1.00/month in the first year. The cost will be spread out over a period of 15 years, as the new renewable options are constructed and put into service.
We understand that nobody likes to see rate increases. The fact is that over the next few years, a large number of our generating facilities will reach the end of their lifespans. In addition to that, we need to come up with new ways to generate power for our growing province. We see the opportunity in this challenge to increase our use of renewables as we build new generating facilities and replace some existing ones. This will come at a cost, but we need to ensure we are all doing our part to reduce C02 emissions and combat climate change. The numbers are based on today’s costs and as technology evolves, SaskPower will work to reduce the rate impact as we move towards 2030.
What will the impact be on emissions reductions?
The impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions is expected to be approximately 40% below 2005 levels by 2030. This will be achieved through more renewables, and the replacement of conventional coal with lower emitting forms of generation, such as CCS or natural gas. It’s also important to note that this is our current, attainable target, but it will also lay the ground work for deeper emissions reductions past 2030.
Will you continue to pursue Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology?
Yes. We’ll continue to evaluate CCS at Boundary Dam, testing and fine-tuning the system for full-scale operation. We expect to have a decision on whether to go forward with retrofitting Boundary Dam Units 4 & 5 with CCS sometime in 2017.
What are the future plans for wind?
Our renewables target includes a push to develop up to 30% wind power capacity in Saskatchewan by 2030. Currently, private sector producers have projects in development at Chaplin (177 MW), Grenfell (20 MW) and Riverhurst (10 MW). These projects are expected to be complete by 2020, bringing our total wind capacity to about 430 MW or 9% of total capacity.
We will also add three 100 MW wind projects by 2024. We’ll initiate a competitive bidding process for the first of these projects in mid-2016. Combined, these new projects, along with our existing capacity, will bring our total wind power generating capacity to approximately 730 MW – or 15%. Although firm plans are not yet in place, we will work hard to reach our target up to 30 % wind power capacity, knowing that wind is important part of future mix of generation options.
Other places like North Dakota have significantly more wind than we do. Why has Saskatchewan been so slow to embrace wind power?
We understand there are many who think we’ve haven’t moved fast enough on wind power, but there is more to consider. We talk often about replacing and adding new generation sources for our growing province. We also have to keep in mind our significant transmission challenges as well—adding and replacing power lines, poles and substations in our geographically large, low population-base province.
Though we use about the same amount of renewables overall, North Dakota uses much more coal than we do and does not rely on natural gas. That’s not to diminish their achievement. The point we are making is that every situation is different and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits all approach to power. We are proud, however, to be making this announcement today and to accelerating our push to be a part of the solution to the challenge of climate change.
“Our renewables target includes a push to develop up to 30% wind power capacity in Saskatchewan by 2030.”
“The cost for adding more renewables will depend on a number of factors, including the cost of technologies, emissions regulations, future natural gas prices and system integration costs.”
“The impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions is expected to be approximately 40% below 2005 levels by 2030.”