Kent says “high end” emission targets for coal power necessary

SASKATOON — Coal-fired power plants got more regulatory breathing room than expected to release greenhouse gases Wednesday, something federal Environment Minister Peter Kent says is necessary to protect Canada’s power supply.

SASKATOON — Coal-fired power plants got more regulatory breathing room than expected to release greenhouse gases Wednesday, something federal Environment Minister Peter Kent says is necessary to protect Canada’s power supply.

The final regulations for coal-powered plants, released Wednesday, stipulate they can emit no more than 420 tonnes of greenhouse gases per gigawatt hour of electricity generated.

This number is significantly higher than the 375 tonnes per gigawatt hour Kent proposed in earlier draft regulations released in August.

While admitting the new rules are “at the high end” of the 360 to 425 tonne per gigawatt hour range he considered, Kent said the decision was made to avoid putting the “consuming public at risk of inadequate power supply.”

“That 375 … would have been applicable only if, in the coal-fired electricity sector, plants operated at a steady productivity,” Kent said. “In reality, plants go up and down in the generation of energy depending on demand.”

Power plants simply could not satisfy the demand for power and meet more stringent emissions regulations at the same time, Kent said.

Critics lined up to slam the difference between the draft and final regulations.

The Sierra Club accused Kent of further relaxing “already grossly inadequate regulations.”

“Kent’s announcement is a either a bad joke or an insult to the intelligence of Canadians. It’s amazing he can make these announcements with a straight face,” John Bennett, executive director of Sierra Club Canada, said in a news release.

The Pembina Institute said coal-fired power plants represent seven of Canada’s top 10 polluters.

“Feasible alternatives exist today, making the electricity sector a win-win for progress on our climate and clean-air commitments,” said policy analyst P.J. Partington.

“Instead of seizing this opportunity, the federal government has drastically weakened its own regulations, making them only half as effective over their first ten years compared to what the government had originally proposed.”

Kent, who announced the new regulations in Saskatoon, said the new rules find the balance between emissions reductions and Canada’s “very fragile” economic recovery.

“I think the suggestion the regulations have been softened or weakened is a misperception,” he said.

Kent said more than 5,000 submissions were made after the first draft of the regulations were published in the Canada Gazette one year ago, adding that some industry players were lobbying for targets well above 425 tonnes per gigawatt hour.

The new regulations also stipulate that coal-powered plants must be shut down after 50 years of operation. It was 45 years in previous draft regulations.

Guy Bruce, vice president of planning for SaskPower, said the electrical industry and various provinces came together to lobby Environment Canada and the Prime Minister’s Office to relax the initial proposed regulations.

Coal-fired power plants account for 11 per cent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and 77 per cent of emissions from the power generation sector.

The new regulations come into force on July 1, 2015.

Just Posted

Pioneer life at Red Deer museum

Sunnybrook Farm Museum teaches students

Red Deer College student receives scholarship

Funding from Canadian Hearing Society

Central Alberta school districts are graded on their no-smoking policies

ASH wants them to tighten restrictions on tobacco, vaping, as well as cannabis

Free film shown in Red Deer Thursday to celebrate Recovery Day

A free film will be shown in Red Deer on Thursday about… Continue reading

Calder School takes shape in Red Deer

Sunnybrook Farm Museum’s latest addition

Hushing my buzz: Alberta finance minister says cannabis warehouse will be secret

EDMONTON — Alberta is starting to stockpile marijuana but isn’t saying where… Continue reading

Relatives mourn death of Calgary-area woman killed by pet dog protecting child

CALGARY — Relatives of a Calgary-area woman killed by her own pet… Continue reading

Florence death toll climbs to 37; Trump visits stricken area

WILMINGTON, N.C. — The death toll from Hurricane Florence climbed to at… Continue reading

Toronto election proceeding with 25 wards after court sides with province

TORONTO — Ontario’s top court has sided with the provincial government in… Continue reading

Scheer welcomes former Liberal MP Alleslev to Conservative caucus

OTTAWA — Andrew Scheer is trying to fire up his Conservative troops… Continue reading

Trudeau says Canada wants to see ‘movement’ before signing revised NAFTA deal

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signalled today that Canada wants more… Continue reading

Uber driver suing Bucs’ QB Winston over groping incident

PHOENIX — A female Uber driver in Arizona is suing Tampa Bay… Continue reading

Thousands of fans request grand jury probe of Prince’s death

MINNEAPOLIS — Thousands of Prince fans are asking federal authorities to open… Continue reading

Most Read