Saskatchewan commits $10M to help communities transition to clean energy

Two Saskatchewan communities will receive a total of $10 million from the provincial government to transition away from coal-based industries, upon which their economies have been reliant.

Estevan, Sask., will receive $8 million while Coronach, Sask., will receive $2 million. The funding was initially made public last October, but the official announcement was made Friday by Premier Scott Moe while in Estevan.

“Our government will work hard to ensure this part of our great province can successfully move to cleaner energy sources and new business developments to remain prosperous and vibrant,” Moe said in a statement.

The federal government has committed to phasing out coal by 2030. This will impact three power stations and several mines in the province.

Coronach’s economy relies heavily on the Westmoreland Coal Mine and the Poplar River Power Plant. Both will be closed within the next decade, which will put more than 300 employees out of work.

The closure of the Boundary Dams 4 and 5 in Estevan will result in the loss of another 300 jobs, according to the Government of Saskatchewan.

The money is intended to help both communities transition into new industries.

A report from the Town of Coronach found that Agribusiness, tourism, power generation and resource development could be a huge economic driver for the region, while the Town of Esteven is considering investing in carbon-capturing technology. Estevan’s other economic drivers include mining, power generation, oil and agriculture.

“I grew up in Estevan and spent a decade on its city council, so I know first-hand the tenacity, determination and hard-work ethic of everyone in the area,” Government Relations Minister and Estevan MLA Lori Carr said.  “It’s those characteristics that will help us re-imagine this great part of our province and leverage new economic opportunities as we go through this time of change.”

Last year the federal government also committed $1.2 million to help Saskatchewan phase out coal and to bring in more renewable alternatives.

–With files from Allison Bamford and David Baxter. 

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