Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online
REGINA – Two MLAs touched on wind and solar development in Saskatchewan in their throne speeches this past week. David Buckingham talked about new projects, while Travis Keisig spoke about the realties of just how much power comes from those renewable projects. Both are from the Saskatchewan Party. NDP members did not bring up solar or wind in their throne speeches.
Here are excepts from their speeches, quoted from Hansard.
David Buckingham, Saskatoon Westview (Saskatchewan Party), on Nov 2:
And a growing province like ours requires a very reliable electrical service. Today many countries in Europe and elsewhere are facing energy shortages caused by failure to ensure reliable baseload power generation. And Saskatchewan and SaskPower are working hard to make sure that we have a good source of power and that it will be there when we need it most. We’re not going to let happen what goes on in some of the other places in the world where they have brownouts or lose power all together.
And our government is taking in all of the above approach to power generation by expanding renewable energy at a rapid pace. SaskPower currently has 680 megawatts of wind and solar generation, with an additional 330 megawatts that is in development. And also two major wind power facilities came online this year, the 200-megawatt Golden South wind project near Assiniboia and the 175-megawatt Blue Hill wind project near Herbert. And earlier this month, SaskPower announced plans for the further development of 400 megawatts of wind generation in south central Saskatchewan by 2026. This is an initiative, part of a SaskPower strategy of adding 3000 megawatts of wind and solar power to our supply mix, achieving 50 per cent renewable generation by 2035.
Travis Keisig (Saskatchewan Party), Last Mountain-Touchwood on Nov. 2:
You know, Canada’s been blessed with such natural resources, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Each province has a right to grow them as they see fit. Quebec, Manitoba, and British Columbia have really expanded their hydroelectric generating capacity in the last decade. But Saskatchewan has increased its fleet. I mean we almost maxed out on our hydroelectric capacity. We’re flat, Mr. Deputy Speaker. But we’re expanding our fleet of natural gas generation with the Great Plains power station that’s going to come online next year.
We’re also expanding our renewable fleet, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You know, it’s critical that we keep a sharp eye on our baseload electrical needs. So I really want to give a shout-out to the member from Cannington. He’s been lobbying hard for this and he brought it forward. There’s a new app out and the Minister of Crown Investments has been integral in getting this out. You can check and go and see what SaskPower is creating. How everything works. It’s a little bit tricky to find, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but it’s quite accurate.
So it’s always a day behind because I mean SaskPower’s buying and selling electricity so they don’t want it minute by minute. And that’s fine. The data that I’m interested in looking at, if it’s a day old, is perfectly acceptable.
So we have 615 megawatt capacity of wind power. And today, or yesterday, we were getting 189 megawatts. So just because you have a rated of 600, you never get the full 600. And that’s why we really stress baseload electricity, like, over and over and over again. It’s absolutely critical. Our solar capacity is 20 and we were getting 2. You cannot run a province, you cannot run business, you cannot run industry, you cannot run people’s homes on that unreliability, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
You know, and it’s really important to note, like, natural gas prices have just . . . well, in Germany they’re over quadrupled. They’ve really surged. And I mean, that affects our natural gas rates. That affects our natural gas prices for SaskPower to purchase and to use and everything else. And it really shows how economically conscious our coal-fired power plants are. We’ve got a 200 year supply of coal, Mr. Deputy Speaker. And it’s really becoming very economically driven to keep a hard look at that.
You know, the proposed small modular reactors — very exciting. And you know, we’re always looking forward to learning more about them. No one knows the future, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but I do know this: Saskatchewan’s electrical generation should be decided by Saskatchewan people, not the federal government.
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