Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Power Grid Agreement

The province is growing and especially in Regina and Saskatoon. This is good, but it requires a major expansion of our infrastructure to accommodate the increase in population.

The recent first-ever joint cabinet meeting between Saskatchewan and Manitoba is also good. An agreement was reached to add 150 megawatts to the existing 105 megawatts power grid that connects the two provinces. Saskatchewan Energy Minister Bill Boyd, along with Manitoba Hydro Minister Rosann Wowchuk, said a preliminary deal has been signed that will eventually see new transmission lines and other infrastructures built, so that power can flow either way — depending on demand. Boyd said, “Saskatchewan needs to strengthen its energy supply because of the province’s growing population and economy.”

A working group representing both SaskPower and Manitoba Hydro was agreed to by both ministers Boyd and Wowchuk. Also, the working group is to develop a framework upon which both provinces can cooperate on green, renewable power development. Their first priority will be to find ways to boost power production in both provinces. Keep in mind that 150 megawatts is apparently only enough to power a 150,000 homes. The proposed new grid is expected to share that capacity between the two provinces. The new grid will best serve major power outages from storms or other events.

What Saskatchewan needs most is a huge expansion of our capacity to generate electricity to add needed revenue to our economy. Sharing with our Manitoba cousins is all well and good, but so too would exporting electricity for a profit. The development of nuclear power would best enable Saskatchewan to generate enough power for our own needs and as well to meet export market oportunities. This is the most effective way to strengthen our energy supply.

We should get on with it, but we won’t for political reasons. A non-controversial agreement to power an additional 150,000 homes in Saskatchewan and Manitoba with a grid expansion is not the most electrifying news, but it is politically safe for both provinces.