Discussion on net-zero energy transition continues, Sask. Premier calls it ‘unrealistic’ | Globalnews.ca

Saskatchewan’s Premier Scott Moe took issue once again with the federal government’s plan to move towards a net-zero emissions electricity generation model by 2035.

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“Saskatchewan will not be following unrealistic federal electricity regulations that will triple or quadruple power rates and still leave us freezing in the dark,” Moe said on Twitter Tuesday.

He spoke at a petroleum conference on May 2, noting he wants a supportive environment for the oil industry in Saskatchewan, and that he wants to protect it from “unrealistic policies.”

He claimed the federal policies threaten energy security across the continent.

Click to play video: '‘It may not be Canada’s path:’ Premier Moe discusses Saskatchewan’s plan for sustainable power'

‘It may not be Canada’s path:’ Premier Moe discusses Saskatchewan’s plan for sustainable power

Jason Dion, senior research director at Canadian Climate Institute, said the federal government’s target is the same target the United States has.

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“We have a lot of the technologies we need to get there,” Dion said.

He stressed that it is a big job, and there is a lot of work that needs to be done to reach that goal.

“The regulation that’s been proposed, which we’re still waiting for the final details on, is not going to require a full and total shutdown of gas plants in 2035 as the premier has claimed.”

He said the goal would be to limit use and incentivize smart use of those plants.

Dion said Alberta has a renewable energy boom going on right now, and Ontario is about to create the largest energy storage farm in the country.

He said the province has more than a decade to put in the proper infrastructure for renewable energy, and noted it wouldn’t necessarily cost taxpayers more in the long run.

“We’ve done our own projections of electricity rates on the transition to net zero and while there are some scenarios where they increase slightly as a result of these investments, in other scenarios they fall over time.”

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Nuclear fusion energy’s potential impact on oil and gas in Alberta

He said while nobody has a crystal ball to see exactly what the cost of this would be, he said there’s no evidence to suggest rates will jump up by multiples.

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Dion noted the province also has tools to manage affordability for low-income households.

“We can explore new types of rate design that would be more fair to low-income households, easier to absorb. And the government could make public investments in the electricity system like the federal government is doing to reduce the burden on ratepayers.”

He said Saskatchewan should step up and use tools like subsidies and regulation to help create a non-emitting electricity grid.

Dion said this is a situation that’s much bigger than Canada, noting other countries are making the move to greener energy.

“There are some risks and some challenges associated with this larger global energy transition that is going on, but it’s much bigger than Canada’s actions alone. We see this playing out all over the world. Oil and gas is a price-volatile sector, so economic diversification remains in that part of the country just like it always has.”

He said other countries are knocking on Ottawa’s door looking for clean energy, and this transition is important for today’s economic competitiveness.

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