A New Energy Regime is Needed

Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2022 12:32:50 -0600
To: letters@leaderpost.com
From: "John W. Warnock" <warnockj@uregina.ca>
Subject: A New Energy Regime is Needed

Dear Editor:
As many politicians and media commentators have remarked, the electricity blackout in the east should serve as a "wake up call." Even source of power in the winter. Most of us have natural gas furnaces that cannot be started without electricity. Without heat many people would die. A friend of mine was away when his furnace went off, his water pipes froze and split and it cost him $10,000 to repair the damage. The main problem is the overdependence on burning coal and the integration and centralization of the entire Saskatchewan power system.
Why should people in La Ronge be dependent on electricity generated at plants near the U.S. border?

An alternative has always been there, but it has been rejected by our politicians, whether NDP, Liberal or Tory. Given the costs alone, it would be criminal to build a nuclear power plant. The Calvert government has put the highest priority on refurbishing our existing coal fired generation plants so that they can operate for another 25 years. They have also promised that a new "clean coal" energy generation station will be built in Saskatchewan. This is clearly the wrong way to go, for a lot of reasons.

The best alternative is the alternative energy program set forth by the Saskatchewan Energy Conservation and Development Authority (SECDA) before it was abolished by the NDP government in 1995. Their studies proposed a shift to renewable energy and the phasing out of coal. They saw no need for a nuclear approach.

Currently Sask Power has a capacity of around 3500 megawatts (MW). Studies by SECDA identified a potential of 1200 MW of wind energy in the Cypress Hills-Swift Current area alone. They estimated that there was a potential for 900 MW of new power through co-generation from the existing industrial capacity in the province. For the north of the province, they identified a potential of 1600 MW from fire kill, 90 MW from forest waste, and 50 MW from wood waste. Small hydro could provide 150 MW. natural gas co-generation could provide 500 MW.
There is also a great potential from passive and active solar systems. Hundreds of megawatts could come from energy conservation and efficiency projects; we have none at present. The U.S. government is putting a high priority on biomass crops grown on marginal lands. Switchgrass, hybrid poplars and willows are being grown for use in decentralized, smaller energy generators. The U.S. Department of Energy plans to convert 50 million acres of marginal land to this purpose. Europe is also moving in this direction.

There is a much better alternative energy system available which is much cleaner and safer than fossil fuels and nuclear power. It also tends to be locally owned and controlled. But it is not what the corporations and their political friends want. They want privatization, deregulation, centralization and continental integration. We desperately need a real change in government.


John W. Warnock

John W. Warnock is the candidate for the New Green Alliance in Regina