Whereas Saskatchewan urban municipalities have expressed their interest in being leaders in climate change adaptation, including the development of renewable energy sources; and
Whereas 75 per cent of electricity generated in Saskatchewan comes from non-renewable resources; and
Whereas recent changes to the SaskPower Net-Metering Program have removed grants for the installation of solar panels, and reduced the credit for power generated to half of what is being charged communities when they are consuming power; and
Whereas the changes to net-metering grants and credits cripple municipality’s ability to move forward with clean-energy projects in a cost-effective manner;
Therefore be it resolved that the SUMA advocate SaskPower and the Saskatchewan Government to reconsider changes to the net-metering program and make amendments to it to support municipal clean energy development.
In Saskatchewan, non-renewable energy resources comprise 75% of the electrical generation, emitting carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, the accumulation of which, contributes to Climate Change. One of the effects of climate change is increasing global temperatures. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that the rate of increase in temperature needs to be slowed and capped. Another effect of climate change is severe weather events. Municipalities have seen these impacts from emergencies such as forest fires and floods.
The government of Canada has offered funding opportunities to change the source of electricity in municipalities to renewable energy in the Low Carbon Economy Challenge (LCEC) and the Investing in Canadian Infrastructure Program (ICIP). The government of Saskatchewan has also promised funding for the ICIP grant programs. Municipalities have developed applications for projects which use solar photovoltaic panels to generate electricity to reduce their production of greenhouse gases from the consumption of electricity.
Saskatchewan has a northern climate with long days of sunlight in the summer and much reduced daylight hours in winter. Therefore, more electricity is used for lighting and for heating in the winter months. As a result, solar generation of electricity is greatest in the summer and consumption of electricity is least in the summer months. Arrays of solar panels are designed as grid tied systems with bidirectional meters that export electricity onto the SaskPower grid in the summer for use by other consumers. In the winter, a grid tied system will not produce as much electricity as required and will draw back off the grid through the bidirectional meter. This is commonly referred to as net metering.
Net metering, in its true form is no longer available from SaskPower. The new net metering program, announced on October 15, 2019, allows a solar energy producer to bank credits in a dollar amount. Credits going onto the grid have a value of $.075 per kWh, but when the community wants to draw on those credits, the dollar amount is $.14 per kWh. There is also no longer a granting program to help with installation costs. Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities need a true net metering program so that they can participate in a low carbon economy, generating renewable energy and use the SaskPower grid as a battery, economically.
ACTS AFFECTED: NONE. REGION/SECTOR AFFECTED: ALL 2020-02