​SaskPower probes cost of Ottawa's natural gas regulations to plans for new plant

Yellowhead Power Station, which uses natural gas. Image: SaskPower

The minister responsible for SaskPower says new federal regulations mean the utility has to pump the brakes on plans for a new natural gas plant.

Ottawa released in late June its finalized standards for a carbon tax on heavy industrial emitters.

Dustin Duncan says the regulations mean any combined-cycle natural gas plant that begins operating after 2021 will need to hit zero emissions by 2030, or pay up.

He says it's too early to know if plans for a natural gas plant in Moose Jaw are at risk, but the utility needs to look at how cost-effective the plant will be to operate under the change.

SaskPower CEO Mike Marsh says the regulations add additional costs over a period of time that will put pressure on rates.

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the standards came out of months of consultation and analysis, with a goal of ensuring there's an incentive for facilities to innovate.

Duncan says he and other ministers met with McKenna on June 27 and she made no mention that the regulations would be announced the next day.

“We need to return to, whether it's under the existing federal government or a new federal government ... we need to return to collaborative federalism. We have right now confrontational federalism,” he said.

“We need to somehow get back to, whatever disagreements we may have, to get back to having a relationship where we can ... feel like we're actually at the table.”

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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