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Five things to know about the SaskPower annual report

The 2021-22 annual report was released Wednesday.
SaskPower report
Minister for SaskPower Don Morgan is flanked by new CEO Rupen Pandya and CFO Troy King.

REGINA — SaskPower has released its 2021-22 annual report and here are five things you should know about Wednesday’s news conference on the release.

Loss in net income

Minister for SaskPower Don Morgan reported a big drop in net income. 

SaskPower reported a net income of $11 million in 2021-22, down from $160 million the previous year largely due to extremely dry conditions leading to a 33 per cent decrease in hydro generation.

“This in turn forced SaskPower to rely on more expensive fossil fuel generation which is subject to carbon tax,” said Morgan. That, plus increased demand, was the primary contributor to decreased income.

This showed the “vulnerability we have to weather conditions,” said Morgan.

When asked how frustrating it was that the loss was directly attributable to a law the province fought to take to the supreme court, Morgan replied “enormously.”

Demand for electricity on the rise

Morgan noted the past several years will be remembered for the impact of COVID-19. He said strong evidence of Saskatchewan’s recovery was borne out by an increase in electricity demand by 4.1 per cent in 2021-22. It is forecast to rise by an additional 1.4 per cent rise during this fiscal year.

SaskPower contributed to post-COVID recovery

Morgan pointed to investments by SaskPower which “continued to support Saskatchewan's economic recovery in the 2021-22 fiscal year, investing $922 million in capital projects to sustain, grow and modernize the provincial electrical system.”

Over half, $490 million, went towards growth projects such as new generation facilities and expanded grid capacity. Another $385 million went to repair and upgrade aging generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Morgan added SaskPower played an important role in Saskatchewan's post-pandemic recovery, directly contributing $1.9 billion to the provincial economy through disbursements to Saskatchewan vendors, and payment of salaries and wages.

Pressure to get to net zero

Morgan spoke about the plans to get to net zero. The original plan was to get to net zero by 2050 and the province had a plan and had committed to get there, but the current federal regulations have moved the deadline up to 2035. Officials at the press conference said it was not going to be possible to meet it. 

“That leaves us in a terribly challenging position,” said Morgan. 

He noted other provinces had other options to turn to such as hydro. As for meeting a 2035 target, Morgan expressed his hope that the "federal government says 'we understand the issues in the province of Saskatchewan'" and would sit down and work with them.

"I'm a Canadian, I've always been a Canadian, proud Canadian. I don't like having this level of disagreement with the federal government. I think most of Saskatchewan is going to feel the same way."

Notable accomplishments for SaskPower

Some of the accomplishments for SaskPower in 2021-22 cited by Morgan, and by the province's news release, include the following:

The commissioning in March of Golden South Wind Facility, the province's largest-ever wind generation facility.

The beginning of operations of Highfield Solar, Saskatchewan's first-ever utility-scale solar facility, in October.

Taking further steps toward evaluating the potential use of nuclear power from small modular reactors in Saskatchewan.

Start of construction of SaskPower's Logistics Warehouse at the Global Transportation Hub.

Continued work on the new natural gas-fired Great Plains Power Station near Moose Jaw.

Refurbishment projects to extend the life of the E.B. Campbell Hydroelectric Station near Nipawin and the Coteau Creek Hydroelectric Station at Diefenbaker Lake.

Selecting a vendor to build Saskatchewan's first-ever utility-scale battery energy storage system in Regina.