January 22, 2007

Sask legislator proposes measures for enhancing renewable energy, conservation

Following extensive consultations throughout North America, Saskatoon Greystone MLA Peter Prebble has developed 32 recommendations for making Saskatchewan a leader in renewable energy and conservation. His report, Renewable Energy Development and Conservation in Saskatchewan, report focuses on the electricity and building sectors. Among other things, it calls for a legislated renewable energy and conservation portfolio standard for the electricity sector, promotion of higher energy efficiency standards for buildings and an expanded role for the province's Office of Energy Conservation.

"Saskatchewan has already taken significant steps toward a green and prosperous economy, which will bring lasting benefits to today's families and to future generations," Prebble said. "This report recognizes that, over time, we can build upon the strong actions we have taken on wind power, ethanol production, carbon dioxide sequestration and our EnergyShare residential conservation program."

The report recommends that legislation establishing a renewable energy and conservation portfolio standard require a minimum of 50% of Saskatchewan's electricity to come from renewable energy sources and conservation by 2025.

At the same time, it says, a major investment in demand side management should target electricity savings of 300 megawatts (MW) by 2025. Substantial investments should also be made in conservation initiatives, including an expanded EnergyShare conservation program.

Large-scale wind power should be assigned a major role in electrical generation as well, with a target of 500 MW by 2015. Another recommendation advocates net metering for small-scale producers of green electricity.

Proposals for enhanced financial aid to promote conservation and renewable energy include: a business energy efficiency and renewable energy tax credit, to help offset some of the costs incurred by companies or co-ops investing in these areas; a low-interest energy loan program for larger conservation and renewable energy projects; and a renewable energy grant program to help homeowners and landlords install or retrofit renewable energy technology in new and existing homes.

To advance conservation and renewables in the commercial and institutional building sector, the report recommends: promoting the construction of net zero-energy buildings in these sectors; and establishing a common-sense energy efficiency code standard for new commercial buildings.

Finally, Prebble proposes the creation of an energy conservation and renewable energy fund, to ensure a stable, multi-year public funding base for initiatives and investments in theses areas. The MLA, who is the legislative secretary for renewable energy development and conservation, is expected to table a second report in June 2007, addressing transportation, ethanol and bio-diesel production, and opportunities in the north.

Renewable Energy Development and Conservation in Saskatchewan may be viewed on-line at www.cicorp.sk.ca.

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