Sask. environment group says SaskPower needs more urgency in reaching emission goals

Pipes and tanks snake around the inside of a carbon capture and storage facility at the Boundary Dam Power Station in Estevan, Saskatchewan on Thursday, October 2, 2014. SaskPower says its carbon capture and storage facility is the world's first commercial-sized process to take flue gas from a coal-fired power station, and prevent it from being released into the atmosphere by storing it underground. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press - image credit)

A new report released Tuesday from the Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES) says SaskPower has decent goals for the future, but there seems to be little sense of urgency to meet or exceed them.

This new report is an update on a 2013 SES analysis the group produced on the Crown corporation's environmental goals.

Right now, SaskPower says they're on track to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The corporation also wants to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The SES said in their report that SaskPower should commit to net zero by 2040.

"To support this, its current 2030 goal should be enhanced to a goal of having one-half of its power generation from renewables by 2030," a part of the report reads.

The report wasn't all doom and gloom. Bob Halliday, vice-president of the SES, said SaskPower is doing good in certain areas.

"They are headed in the right direction on wind power," e said during a news conference Tuesday.

"A number of new significant wind generating facilities will be implemented,"

Halliday said the cost of solar has gone down since his group drafted the original report, making it easier for SaskPower to catch up on solar production.

Joel Cherry, spokesperson with SaskPower, said the Crown corporation is taking a lot of steps in the right direction. He said the transition can be difficult because customers need a baseline source of power that doesn't depend on the weather. Right now, a lot of that baseline power comes from coal and natural gas

"Going forward, we're going to have to change the way we generate power," he said.

SaskPower is adding more natural gas plants in the province to continue to have that baseline, but that won't help the corporation in their goal of increasing generating capacity from renewable sources to 50 per cent by 2030.

Cherry added that they're reviewing the report and that they welcome feedback on their plans.