For the fourth straight day, the carbon capture and storage facility was top of mind for the opposition NDP.
Leader Cam Broten once again grilled Premier Brad Wall over what he knew and when about how the $1.5-billion facility was running.
“You have a government that has been in hyper-spin mode, hyper-cheerleading mode, boasting about this project and intentionally allowing the public in Saskatchewan and the world to have a take away message that’s very different than reality,” Broten explained.
All week, the NDP has questioned why the public wasn’t informed about operational problems at the plant when the government and SaskPower insisted the facility was exceeding expectations. The party uncovered numerous internal ministerial briefing documents indicating problems around the same time the public was being told everything was working efficiently.
“There’s that component of being honest and open and transparent about it. That’s hugely fallen short,” Broten mentioned.
The premier insists the carbon capture technology actually works when it’s running, able to capture 90 per cent of carbon emissions. However, the plant has only been running less than half the time.
Wall stated they could have made that clearer in the past.
“I think the SaskPower folks have indicated the perfection of hindsight would probably change the language or tenses even in the language. The same would be true for the minister, for me,” he admitted.
Wall again explained how there are usually kinks with any project, let alone one of this magnitude. He’s confident those mechanical issues will be rectified.
There are also serious design flaws with the project, said by SaskPower CEO Mike Marsh to cost more than $80 million to fix. The province hopes to recoup that money through the legal process, as it’s taken a number of contractors to court over the matter. Wall said he’s been told by SaskPower they have a good case.
“There’s a strong confidence that we’re going to recover all that money and so the ratepayers won’t be paying for any of this,” he said.
Broten still has questions about what the tab will be to get the plant up and running to the desired level.