Saskatchewan reaches deal with Ottawa on future of coal-fired power plants

Saskatchewan says it has reached a deal with Ottawa that will allow the province to keep using coal-fired powerplants

REGINA — Saskatchewan says it has reached a deal with Ottawa that will allow the province to keep using coal-fired power plants in “a responsible manner” beyond 2030.

The agreement will allow the province to meet federal emission requirements on an electricity system-wide basis as opposed to regulation of every coal-fired plant.

“It’s quite possible that we’ll be operating some unabated coal with this agreement past 2030 … some coal without carbon capture and storage past 2030,” Saskatchewan Environment Minister Scott Moe said Monday at the legislature.

Saskatchewan was fired up when Ottawa announced last week that provinces will have to phase out coal entirely, and replace it with lower-emitting sources by 2030 or use carbon capture and storage technology.

Moe said at the time that the federal government should recognize work the province has already done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Saskatchewan uses carbon capture at one of its coal-fired power plants.

“We now have recognition from the federal government that our investments and the carbon that has been captured, for example, by carbon capture and storage, is now part of the agreement in principle,” he said. The deal also acknowledges the province’s move to 50 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030, he said.

Keith Stewart, head of the climate and energy campaign at Greenpeace, says if the agreement means Saskatchewan continues with what it was already intending to do, then “that’s a big blow to the federal coal phase-out plan.”

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