In April Canada's Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) released 'Canada's Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Developments, Prospects and Reductions'. The report outlines economic impacts and potential costs associated with reaching Federal targets which aim to reduce Canada's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

In short: the report, despite leaving out some major costs and also making some generous assumptions on future revenues, found that CCS adds about $60 per megawatt hour (or 6 cents per kilowatt hour) to electricity prices and represents "an implicit carbon price of $57 per tonne" (Concluding Observations - page 36). Since SaskPower's wholesale electricity price is about $60 per megawatt hour, this means CCS doubles the cost of electricity. 

Nonetheless that result was buried and the report bizarrely concluded that CCS "holds great potential". For good measure it also relegated wind to a minor role - misrepresenting its costs and capabilities throughout and excluding wind from the report's conclusion.

So we responded...



In case you're wondering what the PBO is - its mandate is to provide independent analysis to Parliament on the state of the nation's finances, the Government's estimates and trends in the Canadian economy; and, upon request from a committee or parliamentarian, to estimate the financial cost of any proposal for matters over which Parliament has jurisdiction. 

In our opinion the report over estimates the cost of wind energy and downplays it's potential role. The report's conclusion does not even mention wind.

However and, despite recognizing the high cost of Coal + CCS, the same conclusion states CCS "holds great potential". Indeed the first of only three Appendices in the report is devoted entirely to CCS.

We have written to the Parliamentary Budget Officer to express our concerns.

In addition and, since she recently visited Boundary Dam CCS, we copied that letter to The Honourable Catherine McKenna (Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change) as well as to SaskPower's CEO (Mike Marsh). 

In so doing we hope future PBO reports will adopt a more balanced tone which recognizes the substantial cost advantages of wind energy vis-a-vis Coal + CCS. Any such reports might also give more consideration to the enormous economic advantages to be had from using wind to substantially reduce Canada's GHGs.