The pylons on the left are Bipole I and II, the electrical backbone for Manitoba. This is seen just west of Winnipeg. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

Editors note: Pipeline Online will have extensive coverage on this early next week, including reaction from the Saskatchewan government. The “Clean Electricity Regulations”, if implemented, will be one of the largest and furthest reaching policies in recent Canadian history, impacting almost every aspect of our society and economy. 

Ottawa is considering alterations to its proposed clean-electricity regulations after consultations with industry, opening the door to more flexibility for individual power generators.

“We can still get to the same aim,” said Oliver Anderson, a spokesman with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The proposed changes, released Friday, would change several provisions that industry and provincial governments objected to in the original version.

The changes suggest dropping intensity-based standards from greenhouse-gas emissions limits. That means generators would no longer be forced to meet a single standard of how much carbon is emitted per unit of energy.

Instead, each generator would be assigned an annual emissions limit.

As well, companies that own a number of generators would be allowed to pool emissions from facilities operating in the same jurisdiction. Companies would also be allowed to buy carbon offsets to compensate for overshooting their assigned limits.

The government is also considering changes to how new plants are brought in under the regulations.

  • 0067 PFM SaskWorks Payroll Investment Plan
    0067 PFM SaskWorks Payroll Investment Plan
  • 0066 WBPC Promo video 30 seconds
    0066 WBPC Promo video 30 seconds
  • 0065 Anova Resources field operator Oxbow
    0065 Anova Resources field operator Oxbow
  • 0064 Estevan OTS
    0064 Estevan OTS
  • 0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
    0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
  • 0062 TED_EPAC_Technology_30
    0062 TED_EPAC_Technology_30
  • 0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
    0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
  • 0060 Arizona Lithium Lease building
    0060 Arizona Lithium Lease building
  • 0059 Southeast College Heavy Equipment Operator
    0059 Southeast College Heavy Equipment Operator
  • 0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
    0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
  • 0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
    0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
  • 0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda Click Before You Dig large text
    0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda Click Before You Dig large text
  • 0052 Predator Inspections
    0052 Predator Inspections
  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
    0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
  • 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
    0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
  • 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
    0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
  • 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
    0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0015 Latus Viro
    0015 Latus Viro
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0002 gilliss casing services
    0002 gilliss casing services
  • 9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
    9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
  • 9001

 

Under the previous scheme, operators were concerned about the requirement that all generation would have to either be renewable or be equipped with carbon abatement by 2035. They argued that projects already under construction would be disadvantaged and could be left stranded once the new rules took effect.

The government now proposes a time-limited exemption to that rule for fossil-fuel generators that come into operation before 2025.

“Any fossil fuel-burning electric generation built before 2025 can operate for 20 years without having the regulations apply to it,” Anderson said. “There could be a bit of wiggle room on the start date.”

Industries that generate their own power and feed extra back into the grid are also affected by the proposals.

Previously, all generated power would have been affected by the regulations. Under the suggested changes, only power that gets fed back into the grid is affected.

Finally, small generators producing under 25 megawatts would still be exempted. But any new units at the same facility collectively generating more than that would have to follow the regulations.

Anderson said the government hasn’t calculated how the changes would affect greenhouse-gas emission reductions.

“That’s part of what we’re going to be consulting on, to see what the impact would be,” he said. “The department has a strong sense this puts us in the same ballpark.”

The government is asking industry to respond to the suggested changes by March 15.

They come after sharp criticism of the initial proposals.

Both Alberta and Saskatchewan said it isn’t possible for their grids to achieve net-zero by 2035 without hurting reliability or costing their residents a fortune.

Alberta Environment and Protected Areas Minister Rebecca Schulz said the proposed changes don’t alter her opposition.

  • 0067 PFM SaskWorks Payroll Investment Plan
    0067 PFM SaskWorks Payroll Investment Plan
  • 0066 WBPC Promo video 30 seconds
    0066 WBPC Promo video 30 seconds
  • 0065 Anova Resources field operator Oxbow
    0065 Anova Resources field operator Oxbow
  • 0064 Estevan OTS
    0064 Estevan OTS
  • 0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
    0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
  • 0062 TED_EPAC_Technology_30
    0062 TED_EPAC_Technology_30
  • 0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
    0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
  • 0060 Arizona Lithium Lease building
    0060 Arizona Lithium Lease building
  • 0059 Southeast College Heavy Equipment Operator
    0059 Southeast College Heavy Equipment Operator
  • 0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
    0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
  • 0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
    0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
  • 0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda Click Before You Dig large text
    0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda Click Before You Dig large text
  • 0052 Predator Inspections
    0052 Predator Inspections
  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
    0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
  • 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
    0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
  • 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
    0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
  • 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
    0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0015 Latus Viro
    0015 Latus Viro
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0002 gilliss casing services
    0002 gilliss casing services
  • 9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
    9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
  • 9001

 

“Instead of learning from yet another failure, (Environment and Climate Change) Minister (Steven) Guilbeault has offered an 11-page report that commits to zero meaningful corrections,” she said in an emailed statement.

“The proposed regulations still put our province’s electricity grid at unacceptable risks.”

Schulz said provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over electricity, although in a ruling on the federal carbon price the Supreme Court said Ottawa can regulate greenhouse gases.

University of Calgary energy economist Blake Shaffer was more complimentary.

“The design changes being considered are a step in the right direction towards providing more flexibility while still keeping the goal of reducing emissions from electricity generation,” he said in an email.

Schaffer said moving to an emissions cap instead of an intensity-based target is a good move that he’d like to see extended.

“Rather than a certain number of tonnes per calendar year, make it some amount over a longer period, say three years, so that fleets can better manage across different periods with different conditions (such as) droughts,” he wrote.

Climate advocates welcomed the new proposals.

“The revised design … is a welcome change that will deliver more flexibility for grid operators in order to protect reliability and support affordability,” said Jason Dion, research director for the Canadian Climate Institute, who called for finalizing the regulations as early as possible.

Evan Pivnick of Clean Energy Canada also called for the regulations to be completed quickly, but warned changes shouldn’t compromise emissions reduction.

“Flexibility should be balanced with the necessary stringency, and more details on the new proposal are needed to determine if the former compromises the latter.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2024.

— By Bob Weber in Edmonton

 

News from © The Canadian Press, 2024. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

  • 0067 PFM SaskWorks Payroll Investment Plan
    0067 PFM SaskWorks Payroll Investment Plan
  • 0066 WBPC Promo video 30 seconds
    0066 WBPC Promo video 30 seconds
  • 0065 Anova Resources field operator Oxbow
    0065 Anova Resources field operator Oxbow
  • 0064 Estevan OTS
    0064 Estevan OTS
  • 0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
    0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
  • 0062 TED_EPAC_Technology_30
    0062 TED_EPAC_Technology_30
  • 0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
    0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
  • 0060 Arizona Lithium Lease building
    0060 Arizona Lithium Lease building
  • 0059 Southeast College Heavy Equipment Operator
    0059 Southeast College Heavy Equipment Operator
  • 0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
    0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
  • 0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
    0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
  • 0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda Click Before You Dig large text
    0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda Click Before You Dig large text
  • 0052 Predator Inspections
    0052 Predator Inspections
  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
    0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
  • 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
    0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
  • 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
    0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
  • 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
    0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0015 Latus Viro
    0015 Latus Viro
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0002 gilliss casing services
    0002 gilliss casing services
  • 9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
    9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
  • 9001