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CCS Project Written Off as Just Another Fossil Fuel Subsidy

Saskatchewan’s Boundary Dam carbon capture and storage project, touted as a long-awaited demonstration of CCS technology, is nothing more than a billion-dollar subsidy to the fossil fuel industry, according to a report last week by Saskatchewan Community Wind.

“It appears from the analysis that the government is using $1.5 billion of electricity ratepayer funds to build a project that will have only one beneficiary, which is the oil industry of Alberta operating at the Weyburn oilfield,” said SCW President James Glennie. “Saskatchewan ratepayers will lose $1 billion on that investment and that will mean significantly higher electricity prices for the foreseeable future.”

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He pegged the cost at $30 per ratepayer per month for the next seven years.

“The Boundary Dam CCS project in Estevan, which opened in October 2014, is the world’s first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage process on a coal-fired power plant,” the Star-Phoenix reports. “The facility captures about 90% of the CO2 it produces. The CO2 is used in nearby oilfields to help extract the oil.”

Glennie called for stronger project oversight and more serious attention to wind, solar, and other clean energy alternatives for Saskatchewan. In its weekly e-blast this morning, Clean Energy Canada reports that Saskatchewan is “trapped in the 19th century,” with clean energy investors “largely giving the province a pass” due to an absence of policy leadership.