2030 Emission Reduction Goal Progressing

July 09, 2018

SaskPower is planning for the sustainable future of the Saskatchewan power grid. The corporation is currently on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 2005 levels by 2030. This will be done by increasing the renewable capacity of the grid, by supporting low‐emission technologies and by modernizing the grid to meet the needs of future generations.

New and incoming federal regulations mean SaskPower must continue to adjust how to keep providing affordable power to homes and businesses with a continued focus on environmental sustainability.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology will continue to be used at Unit 3 of Boundary Dam Power Station. This shows how conventional coal can be replaced with this low‐emission process that makes Unit 3 one of the world’s cleanest‐burning coal power units. The decision has been made not to proceed with a CCS retrofit of Units 4 and 5 at Boundary Dam Power Station.  

“Coal will remain an important part of the power grid in the future and so will CCS as we work on opportunities for other facilities,” said Minister Responsible for SaskPower Dustin Duncan. “CCS is vital to achieving climate change goals here in Canada and around the world.”

“Units 4 and 5 at Boundary Dam are smaller units in our fleet that are rapidly approaching the end of their useful lives,” said SaskPower President and CEO Mike Marsh. “Federal regulations on existing coal plants mandate that we either retrofit Units 4 and 5 with CCS, or retire them at the end of 2021 and 2024, respectively, with an equivalency agreement from the federal
government. With the current low price of natural gas, we had to make this
decision in the best interest of our customers. For now, we have a clear plan to achieve our emission reduction targets by 2030, and CCS technology will be a part of that. We will continue to evaluate the viability of retrofitting our larger units with CCS in the coming years.”

Notably, a high‐level CCS feasibility study is being prepared for the Shand coal‐fired power station in Estevan.

SaskPower is also currently supporting the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment to secure an equivalency agreement from the federal government, expected this year. This would allow the company to manage its emissions fleetwide, rather than on a unit‐by‐unit basis.  An agreement would allow SaskPower to operate Unit 4 until 2021 and Unit 5 until 2024.

The eventual retirement of the units is not anticipated to include any layoffs for the approximately 40 positions involved.  

While an agreement is being secured, low emission power projects are progressing on many fronts. SaskPower recently announced a partnership with the First Nations Power Authority to secure 20 megawatts (MW) of flare gas projects from First Nations‐led businesses, helping reduce the carbon footprint of oil and gas operations. The company also recently awarded the first 10 MW solar project that is expected to be in service by the end of 2019. Also expected by 2019 are significant new contracts to import hydroelectricity from Manitoba, the awarding of a 200 MW contract for wind power, and a variety of biomass, co‐generation, combined‐cycle natural gas and other lower‐emission technology projects. This will be accompanied by a suite of new SaskPower programs for customers and businesses to better participate in their own power generation.

“Balancing cost, reliability and sustainability will continue to mean a mix of power sources, and CCS coal will be a part of that for some time to come,” added Marsh. “The pioneering work done here in Saskatchewan will continue, on CCS, but also on higher efficiency natural gas, and as we bring our capacity to up to 50% renewable by 2030. It’s about giving our children and grandchildren a provincial power grid that meets their needs, supports the economy and has a sustainable impact on the environment.”


This release accompanies SaskPower’s annual report release outlining the fiscal results for 2017-18.

At a glance...

  • SaskPower is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 40%, by 2030
  • Units 4 and 5 of Boundary Dam Power Station will not be retrofitted with CCS
  • Work continues to secure an equivalency agreement from the federal government
  • SaskPower continues to operate the world’s first post‐combustion CCS process on a coal power plant at Boundary Dam Unit 3
  • CCS feasibility studies are in progress or being considered on the larger coal units in the fleet
  • The retirement of Units 4 and 5 are not anticipated to involve layoffs
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