It took decades to build our power system. Now, we must change how we design and operate our power system in a few short years.
There are 3 reasons for this change:
- Changes in technology
- Changes in regulations
- Commitment to sustainability
A growing number of customers are turning to solar and flare gas to generate their own clean power. They then sell the surplus power back to us. New technology helps handle this 2-way flow of power on the provincial grid.
Self-generation and renewables, including energy storage options, also appeal to large industrial customers. That's because they're also looking to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The Government of Canada has regulations in place to reduce GHGs from power stations. These rules mean we must phase out conventional coal generation by 2030.
We’ve historically relied on conventional coal for much of our power. Shifting away from conventional coal is a major transition. By relying on more wind and solar power, we're ahead of schedule to meet federal requirements. In fact, by 2030 we'll have reduced emissions by at least 50% compared to 2005 levels.
We’re evaluating the goal of net zero GHG emissions by 2050. This aligns with future federal regulations for GHG emissions. These new rules will make it challenging and costly to add more natural gas generation. Natural gas is what we’ve been using to provide baseload power to support increased wind and solar power.
Canada is advancing the adoption of Bill C-15. This is an act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). We’re monitoring its progress.
Timeline of Regulations
- 2016: The federal and most provincial governments agree to put a price on GHG emissions
- 2021: The federal price for carbon that we’re paying is $40/tonne
- 2022: The federal price for carbon will increase to $50/tonne
- 2030: The federal price of carbon will increase to $170/tonne
Our conventional coal units will be phased out by 2030. They’ll either retire or convert to carbon capture and storage. But natural gas also produces GHG emissions. And these emissions would also trigger these carbon price penalties.
The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act hasn't passed into law yet. Once it has, the Act will establish a legally binding process for the federal government to set 5-year national emission-reduction targets. This will apply to the years:
The Act will also include emission-reduction plans to achieve each target. This means we can expect:
- More emission reduction requirements
- Increased carbon price penalties
The Impact Assessment Act (Bill C-69) requires us to submit plans for each new generating project. The plans must describe how it will achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050.
Commitment to Sustainability
We’re one of Saskatchewan's largest companies. So, we recognize that our role goes beyond providing reliable, affordable power. We have an obligation to ensure sustainability is a priority in all we do.
To us, sustainability includes:
- Accounting for environmental impacts in our planning and operations
- Building strong relationships with communities while promoting safe and efficient use of power
- Contributing to the provincial economy through jobs for our employees, contractors and suppliers
- Ensuring our financial health so that we're able to provide service for decades to come
We’ve earned the Sustainable Electricity Company™ designation from the Canadian Electricity Association. We're one of 9 utilities in Canada to earn this designation. The designation highlights our commitment to sustainability. It also helps our employees, customers and stakeholders track the progress we're making.