More details are set to be released by SaskPower on Monday, but it will take quite the investment. Currently, only a quarter of the province’s energy is drawn from renewables, mostly wind and hydro. Geothermal isn’t used at all, nor are there any large-scale solar operations.
Only about 400 homes and businesses in Saskatchewan use solar as a back-up energy source. One of those users is John Klein in Regina, who had panels installed in April. In the summer they produced “as much power as the home was using,” though that’s dwindled as the sun sinks lower and days shorten.
The panels were quite the investment — around $8,000 after a rebate — but Klein is confident they will have paid for themselves in a decade or so.
Renewable energy advocates have long pointed to Saskatchewan as the ideal place for wind and solar power — we’re sunny, we’re windy, and we have a whole lot of space. With a similar climate, North Dakota has managed to up its wind generation to 17.5 per cent of all in-state generated electricity.
We could build an industry in Saskatchewan that has a future after oil.
Alberta’s bound to be more ambitious than our Sask Party government when it comes to reducing air pollution.
Here are the stats for my solar array in Regina. As you can see, the lower angle of the Sun in November clips neighbours’ trees a fair bit, and a power pole shadow even gets in the way a little bit.
It would be useful if SaskPower and the Prov’ Gov’t put as much public consultation into this plan as they did for the UDP. There were people during the UDP calling for a Renewable Energy consultation that “could be just as biased” toward renwables, as the UDP was toward nuclear power. We’re going to need the province’s best minds working on this solution to the government’s objective of 50% in 15 years, and also the input of people who don’t understand the problem very well so they can learn more about it and come to understand the solutions.