The Estevan Economic Development board recently hired MDB insights to conduct an Economic Impact Study related to the closure of Units 4 and 5 at Boundary Dam power station. Currently, Westmoreland Coal employs approximately 360 individuals, and SaskPower employs about 400 people with 300 at the Boundary facility and 100 at the Shand Power Plant. The closure of Units 4 and 5 at the Boundary Dam Power Plant are expected to have the following impact:
- 150 direct job losses
- 100 lost in mining and 50 in utilities
- Population of Estevan expected to fall by 635 (4 to 5 percent)
- Total jobs lost in Estevan of about 350 (4 to 5 percent)
- Household income reduction of about $65 million ($2012) (8 percent)
- GDP reduced by $200 million per annum, totalling $1 billion by 2029(8 percent)
- Real Estate value will continue to be impacted through this period of transition
As a committee, we realize that understanding the economic impact that the community is facing is key in formulating a plan to move forward and transition our economy. To stabilize and provide confidence into the area, we need to work together as a community, a province, and federally to ensure the political landscape understands the importance of developing a center of Energy Excellence within the Estevan area, this includes the critical implementation of CCS technology on units 6 and Shand, which can meet the goals of all parties involved and ensure employment opportunities in coal mining and power production remain in the area. Although this is our first priority, other technologies such as the introduction of nuclear SMRs are key to the provincial and federal goal of emissions reduction. The implementation of solar construction and training in the area, along with continued research and construction of geothermal, will help the province meet its renewable energy targets moving forward.
It is important to understand that political uncertainties carry a significant consequence. While it has been reiterated to us that no decision will be made until 2025, we as a community, along with all stakeholders, need to continue to advocate to all levels of government the importance of Clean Coal Technology and its implementation into the future not only for our area and country but throughout the world. This includes advocacy to the federal government to implement a tax credit for stored CO2 where a $35/mt tax credit can be utilized to offset items such as the Carbon Tax. Although in the final analysis of this will be a political decision, there are many factors that will play into the end result, such as economic, federal and provincial environmental guidelines and the priorities of the different levels of governments into the future.
In addition to this announcement, the economic development board will continue to advocate, not only for Clean Coal Technologies on six and Shand, but any and all economic activities that will benefit our area. The community needs to ensure the government carefully reviews all factors related to coal production. These include the cost to decommission the plants, the timeline for the decommissioning, and environmental impact and assessments of the habitat for marine life that was created by the plant.
The members of the board encourage all citizens of the City of Estevan and surrounding area to be aware and to play a part in the economic transition of our community. It is time to ask questions to elected representatives and to advocate for your community. It will take all of us to work together to continue to move our city forward.
Read the full study here.
Media inquiries contact email@example.com or 306-421-9206