SaskPower is a world leader in the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) so it makes sense to hold a conference about the technology right next door.
At the Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina, the world’s leading minds and researchers have gathered at a three-day symposium looking at how CCS is used and how it can be expanded into the future.
SaskPower president and CEO Mike Marsh was one of the featured panellists Tuesday as he told the roughly 100 people in attendance the challenges and successes the Crown has faced in using this technology.
CCS captures the carbon emitted, in SaskPower’s case from the Boundary Dam power plant in Estevan, and stores it in the ground rather than it being released into the atmosphere.
Being the first large-scale commercial operation, CCS has been a costly endeavour for SaskPower with $1.5 billion spent already.
There has also been issues with breakdowns and maintenance but it has managed to reach the goal of capturing 800,000 tonnes of carbon in the last year.
Those lessons have now been built upon and the technology is being utilized in China, Australia and America.
Now SaskPower must decide whether to further invest in the technology as it looks to reduce its carbon footprint.
“We have to look at the economic landscape today, we have to look at what the reality is for natural gas and the work we are doing with renewables to advance our renewable strategy in the province,” Marsh told reporters. “To the extent that we can make an economic business case for carbon capture and storage we will do that.”
SaskPower sells the carbon from CCS for around $60 per tonne. Marsh told the symposium he hopes that price will reduce as the cost of operating and maintaining CCS plants reduce.
Despite the initial setbacks, others at the symposium believe CCS remains the best way to reduce emissions.
“The more projects we do, the more we learn, the more we get the costs down and the more this technology can be implemented world wide,” Katherine Romanak with the University of Texas argued. “The taxpayers of Saskatchewan should be extremely proud of the advancements they are making by investing in Boundary Dam, it is a world-leading project.”
The symposium is being held until Oct. 5th.