SaskPower’s Plan to Let Grandma Freeze in the Dark
How energy imports from Manitoba and the U.S. make us all worse off.
SaskPower recently announced its plans to import electricity and natural gas from the United States via the Southwest Power Pool and the Steelman Northgate Pipeline in addition to its imports of electricity from Manitoba. While this move may provide a solution to meet the increasing energy demands of Saskatchewan and the federal government’s CO2 regulations (ironically SPP relies on coal for generating electricity) it also comes with significant economic risks. Energy imports have been a source of contention and concern for countries worldwide, particularly in terms of national security. Dependence on foreign energy sources can lead to geopolitical vulnerabilities, price volatility, and energy supply disruptions. However, the impact of energy imports extends beyond national security and has severe implications for domestic industry and economic development. Energy imports can negatively impact the domestic energy industry, leading to decreased investment in exploration, production, and distribution of energy resources. Domestic energy production becomes less competitive, and companies may struggle to compete against cheaper imports. Dependence on energy imports can also impact local businesses and supply chains, leading to higher costs for consumers and making it difficult for local businesses to compete.As a result, domestic companies may be forced to close or reduce their operations, leading to job losses and decreased economic growth.Furthermore, reliance on energy imports can lead to a lack of investment in the domestic energy sector, which can lead to a shortage of skilled workers, equipment, and technology. This, in turn, can lead to reduced energy production, higher energy prices, and a lack of innovation in the domestic energy industry. Moreover, importing electricity resources from the United States may also impact the local electricity industry in Saskatchewan. Heavy reliance on electricity imports can hamper the growth of the domestic electricity industry, leading to job losses, reduced economic development, and less tax revenue for the government. It also limits the potential for Saskatchewan's electricity industry to grow and expand, which would have positive economic effects on the province. The shortage of skilled workers, equipment, and technology in the domestic electricity industry is another significant risk of heavy reliance on electricity imports. This can lead to reduced electricity production, higher electricity prices, and a lack of innovation in the domestic electricity industry. Furthermore, electricity imports do not contribute to the development of local electricity infrastructure. By importing electricity, SaskPower is essentially outsourcing the generation and transmission of electricity to another jurisdiction. This means that any investments made in electricity infrastructure will be made in the exporting jurisdiction, not Saskatchewan. Furthermore, when a province relies heavily on electricity imports, it can become vulnerable to disruptions in the supply chain. This could be due to a variety of factors, such as weather events, natural disasters, or political tensions. Any disruption in the supply chain can lead to electricity shortages, price spikes, and even blackouts, which can have serious consequences for both households and businesses. Finally, heavy reliance on electricity imports can also lead to a decrease in energy security. In the event of an electricity supply disruption, Saskatchewan will be left without a reliable source of electricity, which could have catastrophic consequences for the province's economy. In addition, the dependence on energy imports can also hinder economic development by reducing the ability of a country to develop its domestic energy sector. This can have long-term implications for the country's economic growth and stability, as domestic energy resources are crucial for supporting key industries and infrastructure development. Conclusions To mitigate these risks, it is important for SaskPower to prioritize energy security by investing in domestic electricity production and infrastructure. This would not only improve energy security but also create jobs and boost economic growth. By focusing on domestic energy production, countries can reduce their reliance on imports and develop sustainable energy supply chains. Furthermore, governments can also invest in research and development, promote innovation in the energy sector, and create policies that incentivize domestic energy production. Such initiatives can support the development of a robust and competitive domestic energy industry, leading to increased economic growth and energy security. When a province has a robust domestic energy industry, it can better manage energy supply disruptions, reduce the impact of price volatility, and be less vulnerable to political pressures from exporting countries. In conclusion, while energy imports can be a useful solution to meet Saskatchewan's energy demands, they come with significant risks to our provincial energy industry. Dependence on foreign energy sources can lead to negative implications for domestic industry, supply chains, and economic development. Countries must prioritize energy security by investing in renewable energy, promoting domestic energy production, and reducing their reliance on energy imports. This will not only improve energy security but also foster economic growth and sustainability. Saskatchewan Coal Transition Centre