December 06, 2017

Government Introduces Coal-Fired Electricity Regulations

Regulations Are Next Step Toward Equivalency Agreement With The Federal Government

As committed to in Prairie Resilience: A Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy, the Government of Saskatchewan today passed regulations on coal-fired electricity as a next step toward an equivalency agreement with the federal government.

Under an equivalency agreement, the Government of Canada would accept that Saskatchewan meets or exceeds federal standards, enabling the province to regulate its own emissions from SaskPower’s fleet of coal-fired power plants.  The regulations passed today are a necessary step in the equivalency agreement process, which was announced in principle in November 2016.

Government also proclaimed portions of The Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Act, which enabled reporting, verification and compliance powers, and will enable drafting of new regulations and standards to further support Saskatchewan’s comprehensive approach to climate change.

“The Act and Regulations are fundamental to the province’s climate change strategy,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “These regulations are the next step for the province to complete an equivalency agreement to provincially regulate electricity emissions.”

Without an equivalency agreement, federal regulations would require all coal-fired units that do not meet a stringent performance standard to close at the end of their economic life, or by 2030, whichever comes first.

Under pending federal regulations, SaskPower would be required to regulate emissions on a unit-by-unit basis.  However, with an equivalency agreement in place, SaskPower would have financial and regulatory flexibility to continue operating coal units past their federal shutdown date by outperforming federal emission reduction requirements on a fleet-wide basis.  Under provincial regulation, future electricity emissions are expected to outperform federal expectations.

“SaskPower welcomes an agreement that will recognize that we have captured and stored 1.75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide since successfully launching carbon capture sequestration on Boundary Dam 3,” SaskPower CEO and President Mike Marsh said. “We are also developing greener ways of generating electricity.  Having flexibility will allow us to deliver reliable and moderately-priced electricity and meet growing demand with a diversified generation portfolio that includes wind and solar.  We’ve set an aggressive target of up to 50 per cent generation capacity from renewables by 2030.”

The Ministry of Environment and SaskPower continue to work with Environment and Climate Change Canada to finalize the equivalency agreement and ensure provincial regulations are accepted in lieu of federal coal-fired electricity regulations.

The Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases (General and Electricity Producer) Regulations take effect January 1, 2018.  A final equivalency agreement is expected by 2019.