Given the recent carbon tax ruling, when will we start to see big dollars spent for developing substantial either carbon capture and storage, small modular reactors, or both?
Premier Scott Moe was asked that question on budget day, April 6. He responded, “Well, I think, in the not-too-distant future, what we will see, in the next number of days is, as you know, Saskatchewan was partaking in a memorandum of understanding on small modular reactors with the provinces of New Brunswick, as well as Ontario. You've also seen, more recently, interest from Alberta in joining that memorandum of understanding, to ensure that we are advocating and advancing the small modular reactor conversation technology and relationships of between, for us, as the Saskatchewan Power Corporation, and those folks that have the technology to build those types of those types of facilities.
“I would say you will see the three provinces, the three original signatories, as well as the fourth, being Alberta, coming out with some communication on this, over the course of the next number of days or week or two, with respect to the direction that we feel the small modular reactor conversation needs to go, and do what level and what degree the federal government would need to participate in that conversation, both in advocating advancing the technology and the relationships, but also financially.”
To that financial end, Moe said the they are looking to the federal government in financially participating, “ensuring that as we look ahead, we are, yes, reducing emissions in our electrical generation, our power grid here in Saskatchewan; but we are also doing right, by the people of the province.”
Carbon capture and storage
On carbon capture and storage, in particular with regards to coal-fired power generation, Moe said, “You may see a similar conversation with respect to carbon capture and storage. We saw Alberta come forward with a request to the federal government, a week or two ago, with respect to the carbon capture and storage programs that are operating there. We have one of the first in Canada. One of the first, earliest versions around the world. The first post-combustion coal-fired carbon capture and storage plant, and I would just say that there is a broader story for us to focus in on; with respect to carbon capture and storage and that is the enhanced oil recovery piece.
“The opportunity that we have had in this province to not only revitalize an aging oilfield in the Weyburn-Midale area, but the future opportunities that we have to use carbon capture off of our coal-fired plants, and ultimately really participate in the ongoing discussion around hydrogen, for example, in some of the hydrogen production that we've heard Minister (François-Philippe) Champagne talk about and we're hearing now some companies and Saskatchewan talk about.”
Champagne is the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
Moe concluded, “So, many opportunities ahead on both fronts, the small modular nuclear power reactors, as well as the potential for really taking the next step in carbon capture and storage and moving it, not only to bumping the yield, and taking carbon out of every fourth barrel of oil that we produce in the enhanced oil recovery process, but really moving this on to the next conversation around hydrogen production and some of the opportunities that we’re being informed about, quite frankly, by private industry there.”