With changing needs from businesses, consumers, and regulators, SaskPower is looking at remaking many aspects of its power supply system in the next decade.
That was one of the topics brought up in a Power Talks webinar, which had SaskPower workers speaking on the province's power.
One topic that was brought up was the need to switch energy sources from traditional means.
Darcy Holderness, the Project Manager of Small Modular Reactor Development at SaskPower, says they're receiving calls to change from multiple parties.
"It is generally accepted that we have to reduce our emissions. Our customers are requiring us to, our large industrial customers are asking us to lower our emissions profile. We have federal regulations that are requiring the shutdown of conventional ways of producing electricity, and we're starting to see that end-of-life for those technologies in the near future."
This all has a specific date, with a federal target of within the next decade.
"2030 is a big date for us. It's the federally mandated retirement of conventional coal for electricity production and so that 24% of our grid has to be shut down by 2030. So we're building out a gas fleet right now to help support that transition, we're looking at imports, and we're expanding renewables," said Holderness, "All of those things are going to be required as we transition away from that conventional coal."
Holderness says those assets may see some more life through the current carbon capture program.
"Carbon capture and storage may be an opportunity to extend the life of some of our fossil assets and even with the natural gas fleet that we operate today and then are expanding to transition from coal, carbon capture and storage may be a technology that helps expand the life of those assets."
A diversified grid would likely be put into place, taking from a variety of sources.
"Imports could be a part of that, nuclear power you're going to see as an option for about the mid-2030s. This first project we're putting together, that's about the time it could hit the grid," said Holderness, "Then it's managing an expansion of all the other options as well. So we don't have a lot of regional-based hydro we can expand on in the province. There may be some opportunity there, but not too much."
"Wind and solar are going to be aggressively deployed in the province. They make a lot of sense to put as much of their cost-effective ways of producing power, and we'll put as much of those on the grid as we can while maintaining the grid in a reliable and sustainable manner and understanding the limitations of those renewables."