It has been a busy week for renewable energy target announcements in North America. Over the weekend the Canadian province of Alberta announced a 30% renewable energy goal by 2030, and the press leaked that New York Governor Cuomo had ordered regulators to implement a 50% goal by the same date.
On Monday a third jurisdiction joined Alberta and New York. Saskatchewan's public utility announced that it has set a new goal to double the portion of renewable generation in the province to 50% by 2030, the same level and date as New York.
The government of Saskatchewan has confirmed that solar will play a role. An objective of 50 per cent renewable power by 2030 is ambitious, but Im confident SaskPower can meet the target by taking an all of the above approach to planning, said Saskatchewan Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd.
That means a major expansion of wind power augmented by other renewables, such as solar, biomass, geothermal and hydro, to go along with the world leading Boundary Dam 3 carbon capture project and more natural gas generation.
Saskatchewan plans to launch a competitive solicitation for utility-scale solar PV beginning in 2016, with a goal to procure at least 60 MW. The utility says that it is also reviewing its net metering program for PV and other renewable energy systems under 100 kW in capacity.
The Canadian Solar Industries Association notes that solar can fit SaskPower's goals for cost-effective electricity.
The cost of solar electricity has decreased by more than 50% over the last five years and continues to decrease due to technological advancements, notes CanSIA President and CEO John Gorman.
The province has barely even scratched the surface of their solar energy potential and when they run their competitive procurement, the price discovery will demonstrate the value that solar will bring to rate-payers for decades to come.
The province currently gets 20% of its power from hydro and 5% from 220 MW of wind generation, and another 207 MW of wind projects already under development could enable wind to represent 10% of the province's electricity output by 2020.
The new renewable energy targets announced this week in Canada cross ideological lines. While Alberta Premier Rachel Notley represents the center-left New Democratic Party, Saskatchewan's goals are being implemented under the center-right Saskatchewan Party. This party was formed by former Liberal Party and Progressive Conservative Party members to oppose the New Democratic Party in the province.