Transmission lines like these coming out of Boundary Dam Power Station. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

 

The “Output-Based Performance Standards” is, for all intents and purposes, another form of carbon tax. And the Saskatchewan government is moving to use some of the proceeds from that to fund development of the province’s first small modular reactor.

On  Dec. 4the Government of Saskatchewan said it is amending The Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Act to allow more “clean energy” to be added to the province’s electricity system.

The changes will require all electricity sector compliance payments under the province’s Output-Based Performance Standards (OBPS) Program to be directed toward ongoing developments and future investments needed to achieve a clean provincial electricity grid by 2050.

“Our government is committed to a long-term plan to transition our province’s power grid to net-zero,” Environment Minister Christine Tell said. “However, this transition cannot sacrifice the affordability and reliability of our power grid. The changes announced today support Saskatchewan’s clean electricity transition priorities while maintaining affordability and competitiveness for families, businesses and industries.”

“To build a clean energy future, the Government of Saskatchewan will create a dedicated investment fund to deploy Saskatchewan’s first small modular reactor, as well as supporting SaskPower’s clean electricity operating costs to help maintain overall power rate affordability. All other compliance payments from industrial emitters will continue to be deposited into the Saskatchewan Technology Fund for projects that reduce, sequester or capture emissions,” the provincial government said in a release on Dec. 4.

“The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to ongoing transparency and accountability through the provincial budget, quarterly reports, and Public Accounts, including tracking how all OBPS Program electricity sector revenues are being used to support the province’s clean electricity transition.”

In November, 2022, the provincial government received confirmation that the provincial plan has been approved to replace the federally imposed carbon tax on industrial emitters in the province, effective January 1, 2023. The Saskatchewan Output-Based Performance Standards (OBPS) Program meets the requirements for the 2023-2030 federal carbon pricing benchmark, including the addition of the electricity generation and natural gas transmission pipeline sectors.

All industrial carbon taxes will now stay in Saskatchewan, saving Saskatchewan industry an estimated $3.7 billion in federal carbon taxes between the beginning of 2023 and 2030 compared to federal carbon pricing.

Further details will be included in the 2023-24 third quarter report and as part of the 2024-25 provincial budget in March.

 

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