NDP Leader Ryan Meili and Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon committed today that an NDP government would harness the power of our Crowns and the expertise of the oil patch to explore the development of affordable, scaleable, renewable baseload geothermal power in Saskatchewan.
“We know Saskatchewan families are feeling stretched and stressed, struggling to make ends meet. This is especially true in oil patch communities where challenges have been made worse by the pandemic,” said Meili. “Today we have the opportunity to put people to work with the skills they already have, as we take advantage of new technology and incredible untapped opportunities in clean, renewable energy production under a Sask First model that puts Saskatchewan companies and workers first.”
Meili indicated that as part of a platform commitment to reaching 50% renewable electricity by 2030 and a legislated target of 100% emissions-free electricity by 2050, his government would work with SaskPower to explore a major expansion of baseload geothermal power capacity.
Emerging technology in this field, including deep well geothermal and closed-loop geothermal, has the potential to provide reliable, affordable green power that is the ideal companion to expanded solar and wind. Geothermal also has the capacity to provide a much-needed boost to industries and communities impacted by the oil downturn.
Dion Malakoff, Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Provincial Building And Constructions Trades Council, sees a commitment to next-generation geothermal as crucial to sustaining Saskatchewan’s prosperity and ensuring good jobs for Saskatchewan tradespeople.
“We’ve got the workers, the equipment and the expertise at the ready,” said Malakoff. “Saskatchewan could be pioneering a field that promises good jobs and clean, cheap energy for the people of our province, but it takes a commitment from political leaders to putting Saskatchewan people first.”
Kevin Krausert, president & CEO of Beaver Drilling, and the drilling rig executive chair of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, has also spoken up in favour of geothermal, writing, “Geothermal energy provides an opportunity to have Canada’s leading drillers and equipment deliver reliable – and renewable – zero-carbon energy.”
Saskatchewan New Democrats have already committed to making clean energy technology and the associated savings available to Saskatchewan people through our Renew Saskatchewan program. Today’s commitment furthers the transition to clean energy while creating new Saskatchewan jobs in impacted industries and communities while saving rate-payers money.
“New Democrats believe in putting our natural resources to work. New Democrats believe in the workers who make their living in oil and gas in our province – which is why we support pipelines as the safest way to get our product to market for a fair price,” said NDP Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon. “But we can do so much more. Geothermal energy presents an incredible opportunity to be at the leading edge of changes in the industry and diversify and expand opportunities for skilled workers like drillers, surveyors and geologists. Smart investments in affordable, renewable energy will drive investment, create jobs and are central to building the energy infrastructure of the future.”