Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault rises during Question Period, on May 11, in Ottawa.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says it would be against the law for Saskatchewan to run its coal-fired power plants after 2030, unless the emissions from those plants are captured.

Canada’s five-year-old regulations on coal power require all power plants that rely on coal to be closed, converted to natural gas or equipped with carbon-capture systems by the end of 2029

He says those regulations exist under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and as such, violating them would be an offence under Canada’s Criminal Code.

But Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says that to maintain reliable and affordable electricity supplies, his province is looking at running its three coal plants until the end of their planned lifespans, which all go well beyond 2030.

Saskatchewan also expects to run its natural gas power plants to the end of their lives, which Moe says would mean the province couldn’t have a net-zero electricity grid until 2050.

Canada’s current climate plan aims for a fully net-zero grid by 2035, but Guilbeault says how that happens is still in discussion and Moe shouldn’t dismiss the plan until he sees what is actually in it.