A bill that would have set greenhouse gas emission and renewableenergy targets for Saskatchewan has been withdrawn. The NDP’s green energy bill was deemed by Speaker Dan D’Autremont as one that would affect the provincial coffers – something a private member’s bill is not allowed to do.
D’Autremont ruled it out of order and directed it be withdrawn.
That surprised Saskatoon Nutana NDP MLA Cathy Sproule, who tabled the bill and said the advice her party got “was clear it wasn’t going to involve additional dollars.”
The bill set targets for increasing energy conservation, increasing renewableenergy generation to 40 per cent by 2025, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 32 per cent below 2004 levels by 2025 and doing it all by using “the existing resources available.”
“What we see is that clearly this government doesn’t understand that a green economy and a diversified green economy is actually a way to save money,” Sproule said.
SaskPower’s vice-president of resource planning, Guy Bruce, said the Crown corporation is looking at renewable energy. For example, wind power is set to comprise 10 per cent of SaskPower’s capacity by 2020.
James Glennie from Saskatchewan Community Wind said the province needs to aim higher with its targets, though he acknowledged SaskPower is “going in the right direction.”
“There are changes. With things in Alberta the way they are with oil, there has been a new focus,” Glennie said.
“At the end of the day, this is a real economic opportunity.”
Currently, 25 per cent of SaskPower’s generating capacity comes from renewables, Bruce said, but “stay tuned for more.”
“We’re really trying to manage the environmental benefits with costs. We want to make sure we have the right balance.”
Bruce said there is a “trend toward more renewables across the board,” and greenhouse gas emissions are “something we want to keep on top of.”
Still, he acknowledged there’s work to be done.
He said SaskPower is “doing some thinking about it for sure” and will come up with a plan of attack in the next couple of years.
In the meantime, Sproule said just because her bill has been nixed, that’s not the end of it.
“We have an opportunity hopefully in the fall when the legislature reconvenes to perhaps reintroduce it and then maybe have a debate on whether or not it is within the confines of the rule or not.”
Either way, Sproule promised the issue would be a hot topic on the campaign trail.
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