Sask. NDP says carbon capture plant sputtering

But government says it's on track to capture 800,000 tonnes of CO2 this year.

REGINA — The NDP Opposition says the Saskatchewan’s government promise to be transparent is going up in smoke on a carbon capture project, but the province says that’s not the case.

New Democrat Cathy Sproule claims the government is withholding documents and details that were promised six weeks ago on the carbon capture facility at the Boundary Dam power plant in Estevan.

SaskPower and the government faced criticism last year from the Opposition for boasting that the plant was fully operational.

Documents leaked to the NDP showed the facility had been working 45 per cent of the time.

But the government says the carbon capture unit operated 100% of the time in January and is on track to capture 800,000 tonnes of CO2 this year.

The government also says it has agreed to reconvene a legislative committee for further hearings on the Boundary Dam project, which the NDP has requested.

It was revealed in a legislative committee meeting Jan. 5 that SaskPower paid $17 million for repairs to the facility. There was also $13 million in operating costs for 2015 and a $7 million penalty paid to an energy company that was supposed to get captured CO2 from the plant to use for enhanced oil recovery.

It was also stated that an overhaul and relaunch of the facility in November didn’t go as planned, and it had to be shut down again because of new problems in December.

But SaskPower CEO Mike Marsh said at the time that his words were being were being taken out of context.

Marsh said the repair costs will be recouped from the companies that did the original work, although the legal process could take “months, if not a couple years to totally resolve.”

He said the operating costs, which includes salaries for workers, were as budgeted, and the penalty is offset by $9 million from the sale of CO2.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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