REGINA—SaskPower says it won’t likely support more carbon capture and storage projects due to costs.
President and CEO Mike Marsh says the technology is still worthwhile, but the current economic climate doesn’t warrant moving forward with such projects because the low cost of natural gas makes that a more viable option.
SaskPower’s Boundary Dam power plant in Estevan takes emissions from coal generation and stores them.
When the $1.5-billion facility opened with much fanfare in October 2014, the goal was to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by one million tonnes annually; in 2016, SaskPower said the plant was on track to capture 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
SaskPower had to pay $7.3 million in penalties to Cenovus Energy in 2015 because the plant wasn’t operating enough to deliver all the captured carbon dioxide promised to Cenovus.
The Crown corporation must decide next year what options are best to retrofit its last two coal generated units at the plant.
Boundary Dam was forced offline several times in 2015. SaskPower’s annual report that year said the power plant faced technical and mechanical issues which “prevented the plant from achieving an acceptable level of reliability and performance.”
Premier Brad Wall touted Saskatchewan’s carbon capture and storage technology at an international climate change conference in 2015.