REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the province has game-changing carbon capture technology and he’s trying to sell the idea to the world.
Wall spoke Tuesday at an annual carbon capture conference in Pittsburgh.
The premier says there was “very keen interest” from companies and other governments in a carbon capture project at the Boundary Dam power station near Estevan. The Saskatchewan government wants to commercialize the technology being tested at the plant.
Wall says the project will be tried out this fall and will “go live” as a generating facility next year.
“But we’re getting close enough now where SaskPower officials are starting to welcome earnest consideration to join this consortium and invest, you know, bring some of those capital dollars to our province,” said Wall.
Carbon capture involves gathering carbon dioxide from power plants and injecting it deep into porous rock formations so it doesn’t add to greenhouse gas emissions.
The plan at Boundary Dam is to capture up to 90 per cent of CO2 emissions. Most of the CO2 will be sold to oil and gas companies that use it to push more oil out of the ground in what’s called enhanced oil recovery.
Saskatchewan has put about $1.1 billion to the carbon capture project and the federal government has ponied up $240 million.
The province, which relies heavily on coal-fire power plants, needs carbon capture to work. Coal currently provides more than 50 per cent of Saskatchewan’s electricity and the province has an estimated 300-year supply, according to SaskPower’s website.
“In the years ahead, when the federal regulations require that certain coal plants simply can’t operate anymore, what are we going to do? Are we going to shut them all down and build all new or is coal still viable?” Wall asked.
“There’s two objectives here. One is to generate some commercialization opportunities, some revenue from around the world for this technology, but also to use it for ourselves so that at least coal is an option and we’ll have cleaned it up.”