Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announcing the new social cost. Twitter/Steven Guilbeault

On May 2, Premier Scott Moe described the proposed Clean Electricity Standard as “impossible for Saskatchewan.” As the proposal currently stands, Canada would not allow fossil fuels like natural gas or coal for power production beyond 2035 except in exceptional circumstances. This past winter, up to 86 per cent of Saskatchewan’s power came from natural gas and coal.

Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault responded in an open letter, posted on social media, on May 3. 

This is that letter, verbatim:

Affordability is at the heart of our approach to creating a cleaner electricity grid. The numbers offered by the premier are entirely baseless and untrue. In fact, the reality is the opposite from what he’s saying. As stated in the discussion paper on creating a cleaner electricity grid, this is about working with provinces and territories “to be able to plan and operate their electricity systems in a way that will continue to reliably deliver affordable electricity to Canadians.” Promoting fear about the impact on rates is irresponsible, especially given that the regulations haven’t even been developed.

Creating a cleaner electricity grid is about creating cleaner air and making sure homes and businesses have access to affordable power. Saskatchewan and SaskPower have already shown significant investment and leadership in carbon capture technologies. And technology has advanced to the point where clean electricity projects are becoming cost competitive with fossil fuel alternatives. It’s about creating quality long-term jobs within a stronger economy, while cutting the pollution causing climate change.

The bottom line is our Government is eager to work with Saskatchewan on creating a grid, that will support jobs and keep energy rates affordable for the long-term. To that end, budget 2023 proposed $40 billion electricity sector investments, including a 15% tax credit for non-emitting electricity generation, $20 billion in low-cost financing from the Canada Infrastructure Bank, and targeted funding where needed. The federal pollution pricing system on heavy emitters in Saskatchewan is also set to return hundreds of millions towards Saskatchewan’s utilities that can be re-invested in affordable clean electricity.

 

The Hon. Steven Guilbeault
Minister of the Environment and Climate change

 

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Moe draws the line in the dirt: “We will not attempt the impossible when it comes to power production”