New Democrats introduce bill to boost green jobs, green energy

The Opposition New Democrats have introduced a bill to boost green energy in Saskatchewan while delivering more jobs and a diversified economy.

The Green Energy, Green Jobs and Diversified, Sustainable Economy Act was introduced Monday by Environment critic Cathy Sproule. The legislation establishes targets for energy efficiency, renewable energy and a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“The Sask. Party government has watered down targets and slashed climate change strategies,” said Sproule. “This government is clearly old-school and unwilling to adapt. They wrongly believe that the environment and economy are at odds instead of embracing the reality: green energy creates good jobs, and expands and stabilizes the economy. Saskatchewan needs to diversify and strengthen our economy now, and we need to protect the environment and secure the beauty and health of our province for the long term. The time for real action is now and this legislation is an important step.”

Saskatchewan has the highest-per capita GHG emissions in the country. Total emissions have continued to climb under the Sask. Party while other provinces have reduced theirs. Now at about 75 megatonnes per year, the government is not on track to meet its target of a 20 per cent reduction by 2020 – a target the Sask. Party government watered down in 2009.

In the same year, it announced its intention to bring in a carbon compliance payment system, which would price carbon for large emitters and use that money to finance investments in low-emitting technologies through the Saskatchewan Technology Fund. That program was supposed to be in place by 2011, but the government has still not managed to deliver on its promise.

This government has slashed Go Green funding by about 85 per cent, and eliminated programs that encourage and reward energy conservation. The carbon capture and storage experiment stands to reduce GHG emissions by a mere 1.5 per cent, despite the price tag to Saskatchewan families of more than $1.5 billion. A long-awaited environmental code was released recently, but it didn’t include a GHG chapter.

The Opposition New Democrat bill sets the following ambitious, realistic and achievable targets:

  • SaskPower will achieve energy efficiency of a 300 megawatt (MW) reduction by 2020; a further 150 MW reduction by 2030 and another 350 MW reduction by 2050.

  • The total amount of electricity generated will be 40 per cent renewable by 2025 and 50 per cent renewable by 2030.

  • Saskatchewan will reduce its GHG emissions by 32 per cent below 2004 levels by 2025, and 80 per cent below 2004 levels by 2050.

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus