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Hitting Saskatchewan carbon targets: How to achieve, measure, and prove reduced emissions

August 13, 2019

By Mark Griffiths

In the fight against climate change, we’re working with clients to establish baseline measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Climate change is one of the most challenging issues the world faces today. And of all the factors contributing to climate change, the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere is amongst the most significant. Earth’s temperature is on the rise, and we’ve already started to see the catastrophic effects:

  • Our atmosphere is continuing to warm.
  • Our ocean temperature is increasing.
  • The global sea level is continuing to rise.
  • Forest fires are increasing in severity and frequency.
  • Arctic sea ice is melting faster than ever.

As global warming continues, and the resulting conditions persistently plague our planet, we see how climate change is affecting people worldwide. Climate change will lead to increased poverty rates and more coastal flooding. It will cause food, energy, and water shortages. It will serve to displace people, alienating them from economic and social security.

So, what are we doing now to protect ourselves from this growing problem in the future? The Government of Saskatchewan is taking their own approach to GHG reduction efforts, aiming to implement regulations that will meet the emissions targets without disrupting the province’s capability to compete in global markets.

Climate change will lead to increased poverty rates and more coastal flooding. It will cause food, energy, and water shortages.

In 2015, the Government of Canada introduced a federal climate-change plan that aims to reduce GHG emissions in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement. The Government of Saskatchewan, although acknowledging that climate change is real and that a response is required, decided not to adopt the federal Pan Canadian Strategy of a universal carbon tax for Canadians. Instead, Saskatchewan opted to implement its own emissions reduction mandate, one that was more targeted than the federal government’s plan. It aims to achieve results without significantly affecting the province’s ability to attract business.

In order to comply with these new regulations, GHG emitters must first know what their emissions originally are—they need a baseline measure of their operations.

Commencing in 2018, the Government of Saskatchewan introduced regulations that brought the two plans closer together. They set out a framework to ensure that Saskatchewan meets or exceeds the same GHG reduction goals as laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement by 2030. Being phased in over many years, the regulations are beginning to impact business for our clients in the energy and resource industry across Saskatchewan. From mining to power to manufacturing—and particularly oil & gas—there are many companies that will have difficult time adapting to these new regulations. They need the right plan and processes in place before they can properly adjust.

This is where we come in. We value the ability to convert challenge into opportunity through innovation.

Stantec has spent the last decade building carbon capture experience in Saskatchewan.

Compliance with regulations

In order to comply with these new regulations, GHG emitters must first know what their emissions originally are—they need a baseline measure of their operations. To achieve that, they need to either entrench specialized, in-house resources or engage a third party, such as Stantec.

We help our clients to establish several key factors: What were the emission levels during the five years prior to the new GHG mandate? What kind of technology was used during that time? What measures are in place to limit GHG emissions? What is the forecast for future emissions, and what are the potential charges?

Once the sources and targets are quantified, emitters can move forward with design solutions. Conveniently, Saskatchewan facilities will be able to choose from a suite of flexible compliance options:

  • Reducing emissions intensity to meet the performance standard.
  • Earning a best-performance credit, awarded to facilities that outperform their performance standard.
  • Purchasing an offset credit, generated by the reduction, sequestration, or capture of GHG by an operation not subject to emission-reduction regulations.
  • Enabling an internationally recognized credit.
  • Contributing to the provincial technology fund at an established rate.

Stantec has spent the last decade building carbon-capture experience in Saskatchewan. During this time, we discovered that not only is there CO2 in the flue gas of the emission sources, but there is quality thermal energy and water. Since, we have learned how to quantify, extract, and integrate these products back into the industrial process.

Using this approach, we can reintegrate that excess heat and water back into the process—reducing emissions that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere. The image below demonstrates how our flue gas method can reduce GHG emissions while adding value to industrial projects, whether generating electrical power, manufacturing goods, or producing oil and gas.

Stantec’s expertise in flue gas technologies can help our clients reduce emissions by recovering and reusing heat and water.

A Saskatchewan sunrise

Although the new GHG emissions target may be a challenge for our Saskatchewan industrial clients, we still view this as an opportunity for positive change. Global warming is a global problem—we all must do our part to preserve our planet for future generations. It’s the right thing to do.

Integrating flue gas technologies will help the energy and resource industry to reduce GHG emissions while not restricting their ability to do business in a world where climate change is top of mind. It will improve our clients’ social license to operate, while adding value to their means of production. In fact, we’ve already been engaged by the industry and are excited to be working with a major potash owner.

Our hope is that by performing these services, we can begin to build a strong case study for reducing GHG emissions in Saskatchewan and help our clients operate effectively and responsibly.

  • Mark Griffiths

    Throughout his career, Mark has spent a lot of time in the field—building, commissioning, and turning over highly complex upstream and downstream facilities to clients.

    Contact Mark
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