Saskatchewan’s carbon tax program begins

As the new year takes hold, Saskatchewan begins the implementation of its OBPS program. File / Global News

The federal carbon tax on industrial emitters began at the beginning of the new year, which means the Saskatchewan output-based performance standards (OBPS) program has begun in the province.

This provincial plan was a federally approved alternative to the federal program.

“This is not the time for federal climate policies that risk undermining our economic growth and prosperity. Our plan will allow industries to grow and operate sustainably while maintaining our economic competitiveness as a province,” Environment minister Dana Skoropad said back in November when the plan got the green light.

The province says regulated emitters will receive credit for carbon emissions under the permitted amount, adding that this will create incentives to reduce emissions.

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Credit will also be given for carbon capture, utilization and storage, with the province adding that regulated emitters will have the option of paying into the Saskatchewan Technology Fund.

A discussion paper from the provincial government back in February said the OBPS program will match the federal carbon pricing schedule, which will start at $65 per tonne CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) for 2023, with a $15 increase each year until 2030, which will sit at $170 per tonne CO2e.

According to the discussion paper, the province will also begin program level reporting on information regarding the system, including the amount of greenhouse gas emissions covered by the carbon pricing program, the number of credits issued, compliance fulfillment, and credit status.

SaskPower reported on December 9 that the rise in the federal carbon tax pricing will result in a 3 per cent increase in bills separate from the 4 per cent increase the crown corporation implemented at the beginning of September.

“We are striving to achieve these goals while keeping rates as low as possible while complying with a federal regulatory framework that requires us to collect additional carbon tax revenue,” SaskPower president and CEO Rupen Pandya said in the report.

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A report on SaskPower’s rate proposal back in July noted that SaskPower is looking for another 4 per cent rate increase as of April 1, 2023.

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