New study ranks Sask. lowest in Canada for energy efficiency
REGINA -- A new study released by Efficiency Canada puts Saskatchewan in last place across Canada when it comes to energy efficiency.
Efficiency Canada is based out of Carleton University. It’s the second year of the study, which creates scorecards for every province by assessing energy efficiency policies and outcomes that were introduced or implemented between January 2019 and June 2020. It looks at categories including transportation, programs, enabling policies, buildings and industry.
Brendan Haley, policy director for Efficiency Canada, said Saskatchewan’s low score is mostly due to the fact that other provinces are moving faster when it comes to energy efficiency.
“Saskatchewan has the lowest levels of investments in energy efficiency programs in the country right now,” he said. “That means Saskatchewan consumers are going to pay higher energy bills in the long run because the entire province will need to spend more on things like power plants, transmission lines and fossil fuels.”
The study gave Saskatchewan the lowest marks in the programs and transportation policy categories. It said SaskPower and SaskEnergy spend the lowest amount on energy efficiency as a percentage of their utility revenues.
Jason Cruickshank, the president of the SaskEV Society, said the low ranking for transportation didn’t come as a surprise to him.
“We’ve been seeing a little bit more attention applied over the last year since last year’s scorecard, but we haven’t seen a lot of action with regard to electrified transportation,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of examples in the report from other provinces that [Saskatchewan] and municipalities could look at.”
Some of those initiatives include a cash incentive to take older vehicles off the road and replace them with energy efficient models, financing options for at-home electric vehicle chargers and more access to charging stations along rural roads.
SaskEnergy said it would like to see the province rank higher, but added the corporation makes conscious efforts each year to improve energy efficiency.
“Obviously we would hope to rank better but it’s very important for us to participate in these types of initiatives like the scorecard so that we can benchmark ourselves against other utilities and other provinces,” Casey MacLeod, a spokesperson with SaskEnergy, said.
SaskEnergy and SaskPower offer a number of programs to improve energy efficiency. SaskPower offers the Energy Assistance Program for low income homeowners to make energy efficient upgrades to their homes. SaskEnergy offers the Residential Equipment Replacement Rebate to encourage more property owners to install more energy efficient home heating options.
Despite the shortfalls, the study said progress is on the horizon, citing the province’s $181 million investment announced in May to reduce costs in provincial government, public education and health services buildings through energy efficiency. It also highlighted changes to the Municipal Act to enable property assessed clean energy financing.
Saskatchewan scored 17 points out of a possible 100. British Columbia received the highest score, earning 58 points.