Sask. Energy Minister says residents already paying carbon tax

Sask. Energy Minister says residents already paying carbon tax


SaskPower carbon capture 

A file photo of the SaskPower carbon capture and storage facility at the Boundary Dam Power Station in Estevan.

Saskatchewan’s energy minister says taxpayers in the province are already paying to reduce carbon emissions.

Dustin Duncan told reporters Wednesday SaskPower’s carbon capture and storage project at Boundary Dam 3 in Estevan is an “implicit” carbon tax.

“That’s a part of our message to the federal government … we may not explicitly have a carbon price in Saskatchewan, but implicitly the people of Saskatchewan are paying for the price of mitigating carbon and that should be recognized,” he said.

The federal government has a plan to put a price on carbon released into the atmosphere. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said all provinces must set up a cap-and-trade system or impose a price on carbon of at least $10 per tonne starting next year — increasing to $50 by 2022 — or Ottawa will do it for them.

Saskatchewan remains staunchly opposed to that plan, with Premier Brad Wall and his Saskatchewan Party colleagues arguing it would not be good for the economy.

But Duncan says a price on carbon exists, because the $1.5-billion carbon capture project, which aims to clean the emissions from burning coal, is being paid for by taxpayers.

“Ratepayers are implicitly paying that price,” he told reporters.

That is evident for anyone who has seen the cost of his or her power bill going up, as SaskPower increases its rates to, in part, fund the mega-project.

A Conference Board of Canada report says carbon capture and storage at Boundary Dam 3 costs $60 per tonne of carbon.

NDP MLA Cathy Sproule said Wednesday “it’s a very expensive carbon tax, the carbon capture project.”

The province says the $1.5-billion cost — and by extension the $60 per tonne price — only relates to a one-time investment.

But the province could be spending more money to expand its carbon capture technology.

SaskPower has not yet made a decision on that front, but doing so could help the province fall in line with federal coal regulations.

A major overhaul of the Boundary Dam 3 facility is scheduled for the end of this month. That is expected to keep the plant off line until July.

It is unclear what impact that will have on the penalties SaskPower has to pay to Cenovus Energy Inc., which has contracted to used the captured carbon dioxide in its enhanced oil recovery project in Weyburn.

SaskPower had to pay $1.2 million in penalties to Cenovus in the first seven months of the 2016-17 fiscal year, because the plant wasn’t operating enough to deliver all the captured CO2 promised.


About prosperitysaskatchewan

Consultant on Saskatchewan's natural resources.

Posted on May 11, 2017, in economic impact, miscellaneous, other minerals, political. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: