SaskPower representatives are travelling across different cities in the province and giving online informational sessions about a series of scenarios for how residents and industries can reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.
Stopping in Yorkton on Thursday night , the Crown corporation engaged with residents, sharing ideas and concerns about the future possibilities for different solutions, negative impacts, and changes to the province’s energy power system.
“We can definitely plan a system that has very low emissions, the timeline is kind of the question. We’ve [currently] been planning to near zero emissions by 2050 or sooner,” said Nanette Salamon, manager of supply planning for SaskPower.
During the interactive event, discussions about using a mix of power resources, such as conventional coal, hydro, solar, wind and natural gas, along with maximizing renewable energy systems, and further developing the province’s increase in nuclear power, were all discussed.
“Weve been on a path to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to near zero by 2050, and now were looking how can we do that sooner and meet pending federal regulations, along with increasing the power demand, and still meet the needs of the province for reliable, sustainable, and cost effective power,” said Salamon.
Some people are really interested in renewables, some people are more interested in nuclear, some people are concerned about either or, some people are really concerned about greenhouse gas emissions and feel like we should really be moving faster. Some people feel like maybe we should consider more affordability and slow it down, so its really great to hear all of those different [opinions], she added.
SaskPower encourages residents to attend the informational sessions to hear what peoples’ concerns are regarding the province’s future supply for power. However, the biggest concern many people shared in the room was affordability.
Narrowing it down to three topics, SaskPower asked residents to rate what is most important to them based on finances, stability and the environment. One resident said all go hand-in-hand when talking about the future supply of power.
“Its all, because I mean you have to look at, can people afford it and is it environmentally viable?” said Terry Kashuba, resident and former system developer in Yorkton.
“If people cant afford it, it wont matter on the environment because people will do whatever they want just to put food on the table. You have to look at how do you make it environmentally viable as a solution less than it is currently. If the environment part of it is a less expensive alternative, they will choose that option.”
With many concerns surrounding the costs and the cold temperatures that arise in the Prairies, Salamon was asked if reaching net zero is feasible and possible in the province.
“Saskatchewan has some unique considerations, we do have the colder climate, we have a more diverse grid, we have a sparse population, so we’ll have to consider what can work in Saskatchewan context,” she said.
Based on the opinions shared, SaskPower will be using the feedback gathered from the sessions and including it into their decision making process for future plans.
The workshops will be heading to Saskatoon, Prince Albert, and Regina next. As well, online sessions are also being offered for people who cannot attend in person.