Premier Scott Moe was in town earlier this week, talking with community members during a meet-and-greet event.
One of the most frequent questions he was asked revolved around power generation and how Estevan fit into SaskPower's future plans for the province.
In a media scrum after the event, Moe said that the ongoing spat with the government on clean energy regulations is important to the community
“I would say the clean electricity regulations are the latest in a long line of regulatory changes, introduction, and ultimately the confirming of the Supreme Court of Canada of the carbon tax, which does impact the affordability of our power mix here in Saskatchewan most certainly."
"The clean electricity regulations are the latest in a long line of challenging policy decisions by the federal government not only for the community of Estevan but more broadly, I would say, for the province of Saskatchewan and a number of other provinces as well as we produce about 75 to 80% of our usage of power comes from either natural gas or coal-fired power.“
Moe says that if the decision ends up in front of the courts, they'll look to ensure their constitutional rights to determine energy policy are upheld.
“We're going to make those decisions in the best interest of affordable power rates in the province, reliable power rates in the province, and all the while reducing our emissions at a level that you know most certainly isn't going to result in doubling and tripling the power rates for our industries and most importantly for our families.“
Moe said that Estevan's significant coal assets - both in resource extraction and power generation - means that it will be a key player in whatever decisions are made in the future.
How many and how powerful potential SMR reactors are is just one of those questions that'll be informed by the rest of the province.
“As we look ahead through the decades, not through the next number of years, but through the decades. We're embarking down that path, going through the regulatory process on where you may locate a small modular reactor and how many we could ultimately locate."
"So I won't surmise as to what the number would be of small modular reactors because there are other options and larger thousand MW reactors and such, there's other options that we have that can play into this as well with some of the other generation infrastructure that we have.“
The province is also looking to get a bit of help from other provinces and the federal government, both for opportunities to reduce costs and for providing funding.
“As we find our way through this conversation aligning with Ontario and New Brunswick and Alberta and the Memorandum of Understanding that we have put together and at times asking our federal government to participate because one of the reasons we're having this discussion at this point in time is because of all of the regulatory pressure that they're placing on Saskatchewan residents and on our generation system. “
“They need to participate financially. They provided $24 million of our tax dollars back the other day. But our ask is for them to provide 75% of the funding of the first reactor that we build here in the province and so many decisions to be made with respect to small modular reactors.”
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