Project Merit: Carbon Capture & Storage

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Saskpower (Regina, Sask.), Saskatchewan's publicly owned electricity generation, transmission and distribution utility (C$1.75 billion in 2010 revenues), for breaking ground on what is slated to become the world's first carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility integrated with a coal power plant.

In April 2011, the provincial government approved construction of the Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration Project. The C$1.24 billion project, expected to be completed in 2014, will capture about 1 million tonnes of CO2 annually from a new 110 MWunit at the 824 MW Boundary Dam Power Station, one of three of the company's coal power plants that constitute roughly 50% of its generating capacity of 3,513 MW. SNC Lavalin has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the capture portion of the project, with Stantec serving as owner's engineer for the power island. In December 2011, a 70-foot long, 500,000-pound aqueous amine-based CO2 stripper designed by SNC Lavalin and CanSolv Technologies arrived at the site (delivered on a flatbed trailer with 224 tires, noted the Estevan Mercury). In early January 2012 a 650-ton crane was lifting it into place.

CCS may not be popular (of more than 800 people responding to a CBC survey on Saskatchewan's GHG mitigation strategies, only 3% endorsed the technology over nuclear, renewables and conservation), scientists and policy experts, including authors of reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, consider CCS absolutely essential to mitigating emissions from coal power. Only with early deployment of demonstration projects like Saskpower's Boundary Dam III will CCS reach a trajectory to contribute meaningfully to global GHG mitigation by mid-century.