… and Estevan (and SaskPower consumers) will suffer the consequences.
SaskPower is going to beef up its power transmission interconnect with the U.S. Southwest Power Pool (SPP), from the existing 150 megawatts to 650 megawatts. It’s a connection to 106 utilities across 14 states from North Dakota right down to include the Texas panhandle.
The idea is when they need power, and we have power to offer, we sell power into the SPP. And when we need power, we can buy it from the SPP. And for that privilege, we will pay a tariff of $52 million per year. More on that later.
This sort of interconnected grid is really important when it comes to intermittent power sources like wind and solar. Especially wind and solar. When I was typing up the initial story this morning, I checked on how Alberta’s power grid is doing. And at that moment, at 10:46 a.m., Alberta’s power grid was producing 188 megawatts out of a theoretical 2,389 megawatts of wind power connected to their grid, a measly 7.9 per cent. And this has happened numerous times this summer. I’m losing track, really. […]
Let me be clear on this – Alberta is one of the most energy-rich jurisdictions on the entire planet. It’s got more oil, natural gas and coal then almost every energy producer on the third rock from the sun, never mind wind and solar. And it is routinely, almost every single day, drawing on power production from its neighbours to keep its lights on.
And this is what I anticipate will happen in Saskatchewan. Sure, we could send power to North Dakota. But it’s more likely that we will be drawing power from the SPP, nearly all the time.
But what really got me thinking were these comments: “Over 50% of North Dakota’s power is coal fired. Carbon tax free,” said one. And that’s true. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “In 2021, coal-fired power plants provided 57 per cent of North Dakota’s electricity generation, and wind energy accounted for 34 per cent, which was the sixth-highest share from wind power for any state.”
And this comment hit home, as most of my neighbours are either coal miners or work for SaskPower.
“And no jobs here in coal. Goodbye Estevan, you’re ruined.”
And that $52 million annual fee – which I must compliment the Leader Post on finding that out. I missed that. That’s a lot of bucks. Indeed, it’s much more than what SaskPower pays the provincial government in coal royalties via its coal purchases.
You got that right. We pay next to nothing for coal – at least the coal on crown land, which is most of it.
Read it all and subscribe. Then, call your SaskParty MLA and remind them what happened to the Alberta PC’s.
Related: Judge revives Obama-era ban on coal sales from US lands