Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and committee members.
My name is Mike Marsh. I'm the president and CEO of SaskPower. I'm joined here in Regina today by Mr. Tim Eckel, vice-president of asset management, planning, and sustainability.
First of all, thank you for the opportunity to share SaskPower's views on interconnection infrastructure between provinces and building cross-jurisdictional co-operation for a cleaner, more reliable electrical system in Canada.
I have some opening remarks and will then be pleased to take your questions. To begin, I'll briefly introduce you to our company.
SaskPower is Saskatchewan's largest crown corporation and the primary supplier of electricity in Saskatchewan. We are a fully integrated power utility. We operate natural gas facilities, coal-fired stations, hydro stations, and wind power facilities. We also purchase electricity from independent power producers, as well as from Manitoba Hydro, to bring our total generating capacity to approximately 4,500 megawatts.
As we look to the future, we know that the way we do business today is not the way we will continue to do business. Our industry is changing, and we recognize that the electrical system in our province and our country must evolve to meet future challenges.
I've had the pleasure of serving as SaskPower's president and CEO since 2015. My history with SaskPower dates back 26 years, when I began working at the Boundary Dam power station in Estevan, Saskatchewan. I've seen many changes over the years, but I can truly say that this is a period of profound transformation. Our vision of a cleaner energy future will require fundamental shifts in the way we operate every aspect of our business, from generation to delivery.
For example, we hit a record system load of 3,747 megawatts in January. As well, we saw a number of summer records broken, including hitting 3,470 megawatts in August of this year. All indications are that demand will continue to grow in our province.
To meet this demand, SaskPower has invested approximately $1 billion a year since 2012 in our aging infrastructure. We are also meeting the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. SaskPower is a world leader in carbon capture and storage. Boundary Dam 3 produces the cleanest fossil fuel electricity in Canada—it's two to three times cleaner than natural gas—and our work here has the ability to dramatically reduce emissions both in Canada and around the world.
SaskPower is committed to managing our emissions, with a goal of having 50% renewable generating capacity by the year 2030. We'll meet this target by adding more wind power—our long-term goal is to increase wind power from about 5% today to as much as 30% by 2030—and installing about 60 megawatts of utility-scale solar by 2021 and potentially up to 300 megawatts of solar by the year 2030.
SaskPower will need reliable baseload electricity to support our wind and solar generation. It's for that reason that we support further research and study of interties between provinces, especially between Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Not only does Saskatchewan's economy need reliable electricity. It needs cost-effective electricity. Saskatchewan ratepayers expect and deserve fair pricing and will not tolerate subsidizing other provinces' electrical rates. I'm sure this is also true for the customers of Manitoba Hydro.
For this reason, we must ensure that appropriate supports are in place to study how to best optimize interconnections that benefit both our provinces. The intertie connections must be built on a relationship. It must be a true partnership between the two utilities and must ensure that one side does not lose its electrical independence. Saskatchewan's economy cannot afford to have instability or unreliability in its power supply.
For example, we have strongly encouraged that serious thought be given to moving electricity beyond our provincial borders. Currently, SaskPower can build its generation close to where it's needed, meaning higher efficiency of electricity movement with minimal line loss. As well, building transmission and distribution infrastructure costs billions of dollars, and that should not be unduly shouldered by SaskPower's customers.
Before we even begin building, we must also consider the tremendous administrative effort needed to secure approvals. Red tape can result in delays, and it can add years to the process and make planning extremely difficult. This uncertainty slows down our progress on delivering new generation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We need support from all levels of government to move forward in a way that meets the public's expectation and the needs of the economy.
To close, we would like to reiterate our support for intertie development between provinces. The western regional electricity co-operation and strategic infrastructure study led by NRCan consists of electric utilities and system operators from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Working together, the participants are collaboratively looking to identify promising electricity infrastructure projects in western Canada with the potential to achieve significant greenhouse gas reductions.
General Electric consulting has been contracted to perform a technical and economic study to assess potential projects that will increase the use of clean energy across western Canada and accelerate GHG emissions reductions. Saskatchewan feels this is an important initiative and that it is important to have the following related projects assessed: a new intertie between Saskatchewan and Manitoba; new internal transmission to aid in development of new renewable capacity; new hydroelectric capacity; coal conversion, to lower greenhouse gas emissions; bulk storage additions; and potentially a new intertie between Alberta and Saskatchewan as well.
Results are expected to start flowing in shortly, and we hope we will significantly strengthen capacity and cost-effectiveness between Saskatchewan and our western Canadian partners. SaskPower recognizes that having a well-developed east-west distribution system will make Canada's electrical system stronger, and we know that will benefit all Canadians. That said, we must work together to ensure that the decisions made are fair to all Canadians in a way that supports growth in both provinces in an environmentally sustainable way.
Mr. Chair, that concludes our presentation. We'd be pleased to take your questions now.