Regina — In the debate over sustainable energy options for the future, wind and solar power usually receive the bulk of attention. However, recent technological developments are creating a new assortment of viable sustainable energy options that Saskatchewan is well placed to take advantage of.
CCPA Saskatchewan’s newest report, Plugging the Gap: Sustainable Power Options to Complement Wind and Solar by Mark Bigland-Pritchard investigates the means by which the province could complement wind and solar power with other renewable energy options such as using fuels of biological origin like biomass and biochar, dammed and run-of-the-river hydroelectricity, concentrated solar thermal technology, advanced energy storage and other hybrid systems.
Bigland-Pritchard evaluates the efficacy of these options as they pertain to Saskatchewan, exploring how they could be used in conjunction with other renewable energy choices to provide a stable and secure electrical power base for the future.
Some of the available sustainable energy options beyond wind and solar that could prove ideal for Saskatchewan include:
• Up to 2 million tones of crop residue, such as cereal and flax straw and canola stalks, could be available for bioenergy in Saskatchewan each year. Applying a typical value range for the efficiency of thermal power stations, this could supply between 2500 and 3000 GWh of electrical energy per year.
• Interconnections between the Manitoba and Saskatchewan grids are currently only 150MW in one direction and 275MW in the other. For significant electricity trading to occur between the two provinces, the inter- connection capacity would need to be expanded, possibly to as much as 1000MW in both directions. Trade could be two-way; Saskatchewan could sell excess wind power to Manitoba in return for hydroelectricity
• Forestry residue, such as logging slash, sawdust and shavings, bark, other mill waste, and woodland debris contain an annual energy content of about 1400 GWh. This could supply up to 500 GWh of electrical energy per year to the province if harnessed efficiently.
• Biochar – a possible byproduct of biomass energy production – may have the potential to sequester carbon for thousands of years, all while improving water quality, increasing soil fertility and raising agricultural productivity. Biochar could serve as a much cheaper, organic alternative to the expensive and unproven experiments in carbon sequestration currently in development in Saskatchewan.
For further information on the report or answers to questions, please contact the author, Mark Bigland-Pritchard by phone at: (306) 997 5721
Or via email at: [email protected]
For more information on the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Saskatchewan Office, contact Simon Enoch:Phone: (306) 924-3372
Email: [email protected]