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  • Report looks at captured nature of BC’s Oil and Gas Commission August 6, 2019
    From an early stage, BC’s Oil and Gas Commission bore the hallmarks of a captured regulator. The very industry that the Commission was formed to regulate had a significant hand in its creation and, too often, the interests of the industry it regulates take precedence over the public interest. This report looks at the evolution […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Correcting the Record July 26, 2019
    Earlier this week Kris Sims and Franco Terrazzano of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation wrote an opinion piece that was published in the Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, Winnipeg Sun, Ottawa Sun and Toronto Sun. The opinion piece makes several false claims and connections regarding the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP), which we would like to correct. The […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Rental Wage in Canada July 18, 2019
    Our new report maps rental affordability in neighbourhoods across Canada by calculating the “rental wage,” which is the hourly wage needed to afford an average apartment without spending more than 30% of one’s earnings.  Across all of Canada, the average wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment is $22.40/h, or $20.20/h for an average one […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada July 9, 2019
    CCPA senior economist David Macdonald co-authored a new report, Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada­—released by Upstream Institute in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)—tracks child poverty rates using Census 2006, the 2011 National Household Survey and Census 2016. The report is available for […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Fossil-Power Top 50 launched July 3, 2019
    What do Suncor, Encana, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Fraser Institute and 46 other companies and organizations have in common? They are among the entities that make up the most influential fossil fuel industry players in Canada. Today, the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP) is drawing attention to these powerful corporations and organizations with the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Investing in the Green & White – Why Not in Green Power?

At yesterday’s Saskatchewan Roughrider game, Premier Wall announced provincial funding for a new stadium: an $80-million grant and a $100-million loan to be repaid over time through a surcharge on tickets. While it’s unclear why a stadium should be anywhere near the top of the priority list, a readiness to invest in public infrastructure is positive.

The province could generate more renewable electricity with a similar commitment: an initial capital investment by SaskPower plus a modest additional cost for consumers. Much as football fans will pay more for a new stadium, renewables may mean slightly higher rates for electricity users (which could be offset through compensatory transfers to low-income households). Furthermore, some forms of renewable power like hydro and large-scale wind that are already price-competitive with fossil fuels would not necessarily even entail higher rates.

In any case, the government has already shown itself willing to raise SaskPower rates, which were announced (perhaps not coincidentally) just a few days before the new stadium. As SOS Crowns noted, an important factor driving up rates was likely the policy of paying private operators to generate additional electricity rather than making the needed investments through SaskPower.

Given the Sask. Party’s inclination toward privatization and contracting out, yesterday’s willingness to make a direct public investment was somewhat refreshing. The challenge is to extend that willingness to areas of higher priority like energy and the environment.

Enjoy and share:


Comment from Sojo
Time: July 16, 2012, 1:01 pm

The world is changing. “Progressive” economists really should know about LENR and, more importantly, they should have the stones to discuss it.
“Cold Fusion Is Hot Again
A report on cold fusion – nuclear energy like that which powers the sun, but made at room temperatures on a tabletop, which in 1989, was presented as a revolutionary new source of energy that promised to be cheap, limitless and clean but was quickly dismissed as junk science. Today, scientists believe that cold fusion, now most often called low temperature fusion or a nuclear effect, could lead to monumental breakthroughs in energy production.”

Comment from Victor Lau
Time: July 16, 2012, 2:34 pm

Good luck on your Leadership run, Erin!

Best cheers, vic.

Comment from Mark Bigland-Pritchard
Time: July 17, 2012, 10:56 am

“unclear why a stadium should be anywhere near the top of the priority list” – it shouldn’t be on the priority list at all. This is a matter for the Riders and their fans to sort out, not the taxpayers of Saskatchewan.

Energy IS a priority, though. The SaskParty government (with minimal and often off-the-point criticism from the NDP) are willing to put our money into expensive options like coal with CCS. And if it were not for campaigns run by civil society groups they would be throwing more of it at the nuclear industry. And then of course there are all the well-documented government subsidies to the oil and gas industry. The problem is not that the government isn’t prepared to invest in energy, nor that it doesn’t prioritise it – it’s that they are only prepared to invest in dirty options.

And why advocate these half-measures, Erin? We know from over a decade of international experience that by far the most efficient way to introduce renewables to the grid is by means of well-designed feed-in tariffs. (Where we could use some direct government investment, though, is in helping local community renewables cooperatives to get themselves started.)

Comment from Erin Weir
Time: July 17, 2012, 12:37 pm

I agree that fossil-fuel power is a priority for the Sask. Party and it reflects the bias toward contracting out. The private Northland natural-gas plant is the obvious example, but even the Boundary Dam CCS project is being pitched as a public-private partnership.

I strongly support feed-in tariffs and government start-up funding for local, small-scale renewables. However, I think that SaskPower should own and operate the large-scale generation facilities.

SaskPower building large wind farms could and should be a major part of the shift to green energy, not a half-measure. To mobilize those public resources, we need to overturn the Sask. Party’s edict that only private operators may invest in wind power.

Comment from Mark Bigland-Pritchard
Time: July 22, 2012, 6:26 pm

Of course SaskPower, rather than some unaccountable private corporation, should maintain control over existing large power stations. (Not that SaskPower generally behaves as if it were accountable to the people, but at least there’s a chance that it could be made so.)

But I don’t ultimately see a need for new large windfarms (by “large” I mean bigger than about 30MW capacity), nor indeed new large anything, for both technical and social reasons:
– lots of small facilities with a good geographical spread gives a more even overall output than a few big ones.
– spreading them out also means more local jobs, more local enterprise springing up on the back of the wind industry, more rural communities given the chance of economic stability.
I also don’t think we’re going to get anywhere with sustainable electricity in this province until the culture changes at SaskPower from the current rigid centralist mentality to a recognition that they are public servants and their job is to empower the people (in both senses of the word).

I would prefer to see SaskPower having, say, a 33% share in each local community-owned windfarm rather than having a rigid distinction between SaskPower and community stations. It might help them to learn to behave like they’re part of the community…

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