Saskatchewan fired up over Ottawa’s coal plant phase out plan
Wants an equivalency agreement similar to Nova Scotia’s that will extend the use of coal-fired electrical plants beyond the deadline.
REGINA — The Saskatchewan government is fuming about Ottawa’s plan to phase out coal-fired power generation in Canada by 2030.
Environment Minister Scott Moe said the federal government should recognize work the province has already done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Moe said Saskatchewan wants an equivalency agreement similar to the one Nova Scotia signed with Ottawa that will allow the Atlantic province to use coal-fired electrical plants beyond the deadline.
“We’ve been working on an agreement for a couple of years now and they’ve pre-empted some of that work with this announcement,” Moe said.
Almost half of the electricity generated in Nova Scotia uses coal as a fuel source.
Saskatchewan’s wants to have 50% renewable power by 2030 and have the province determine how it will meet emissions targets.
NDP environment critic Cathy Sproule questioned the hold up.
“Since 2009, they’ve been trying to negotiate an equivalency agreement. They still haven’t got one, so what the heck is going on?” said Sproule.
All the premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are to meet next month to discuss the 2030 deadline.
Under the new federal plan provinces can choose to phase out coal entirely and replace it with lower-emitting sources or they can use carbon capture and storage technology.
Premier Brad Wall said the Liberal deadline shows Trudeau is not really committed to collaborating with the provinces.
Saskatchewan opened a $1.5-billion carbon-capture facility at a coal-fired power plant near Estevan in 2014.
Wall has repeatedly argued that developing such technologies is a better way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This isn’t the first time Ottawa’s environmental plan has fired up Wall.
The premier came out swinging last month when Trudeau announced plans for a national carbon tax.
Wall argues the plan to charge $10 per tonne of carbon starting in 2018 and increasing to $50 by 2022 would hurt the backbone of the province’s resource economy – energy, mining and agriculture – while having the least impact on reducing emissions.
Trudeau promised all revenue generated by a carbon tax would flow back to the provinces and territories.