Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent has announced the final regulations for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from coal-fired electricity generation.
"Canada already boasts one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world, with three-quarters of our electricity supply emitting no greenhouse gases," said Kent. "These regulations will further strengthen our position as a world leader in clean electricity production, while continuing to grow our economy and create jobs."
The regulations apply a stringent performance standard to new electricity generation units and old units that have reached the end of their economic life. In the first 21 years, the regulations are expected to result in a cumulative reduction in GHG emissions of about 214 megatonnes--equivalent to removing some 2.6 million personal vehicles per year from the road.
Reducing emissions from coal-fired electricity--which is responsible for 11 percent of Canada's total GHG emissions--is an important step toward meeting Canada's 2020 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels.
In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the improved air quality that will result from the regulations will have a direct impact on the health of Canadians.
“The final version of regulations in respect to greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity plants is indeed good news for Estevan and Saskatchewan,” said Souris-Moose Mountain MP Ed Komarnicki.
The regulations do take into account the concerns of the Government of Saskatchewan and SaskPower, Komarnicki said in a press release, and go a long way to insure Boundary Dam and the carbon capture and storage project will be successful in meeting new emission standards.
Some of the significant changes include changing the performance standard from 375 tonnes per gigawatt hour to 420 tonnes per gigawatt hour, extending the end of life definition from 45 years to 50 years, and allowing for due diligence to be completed with respect to the Boundary Dam Unit 3 carbon capture and sequestration project.
All of this, including the two levels of government working on a Saskatchewan Equivalency Agreement with Environment Canada, bodes well for the coal-fired electricity sector in Southeast Saskatchewan.
“As a Member of Parliament for this constituency with three coal-fired electricity plants I obviously had a particular interest in this file," said Komarnicki. "Establishing a satisfactory emissions standard that we can live with is very important to this part of Saskatchewan in terms of jobs, growth and long term prosperity. In fact all of Saskatchewan will benefit from it.”
Komarnicki believes the government’s commitment to carbon capture and storage will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment, while supporting jobs for many families.
The new performance standard for coal-fired electricity generating units will come into force on July 1, 2015.
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