Output-Based Performance Standards Program and the Saskatchewan Technology Fund
Saskatchewan’s Climate Change Strategy: Prairie Resilience
Saskatchewan’s climate change strategy, Prairie Resilience: A Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy, is a comprehensive approach to climate change that includes more than 40 commitments that allow Saskatchewan to continue to grow and prosper while contributing to Canada’s efforts to address the effects of a changing climate. The strategy focuses on five areas, including natural systems, physical infrastructure, economic sustainability, community preparedness, and measuring, monitoring and reporting.
1. Output-Based Performance Standards (OBPS) Program
Saskatchewan’s Output-Based Performance Standards (OBPS) Program is a key component of the province’s approach to climate change. Under Prairie Resilience, the OBPS Program requires reductions in emissions intensity across most sectors of the economy while maintaining economic competitiveness and protecting against carbon leakage – whereby industry moves productions and jobs to other countries with less stringent climate policies.
The OBPS Program was expanded in 2022 and updated in 2023, covering more industrial sectors and emissions and requiring regulated emitters to meet emissions reduction requirements or owe compliance. The updated OBPS Program helps to incentivize carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) by providing credits for emitters deploying CCUS at their facilities. The program also provides new revenue opportunities by allowing regulated emitters to generate and trade performance credits when their emissions intensity is below permitted levels.
The revised OBPS now covers the following emissions-intensive trade-exposed sectors:
- Electricity generation
- Agricultural and industrial equipment manufacturing
- Chemical manufacturing
- Ethanol manufacturing
- Fertilizer manufacturing
- Food and beverage processing
- Grain and Oilseed processing
- Iron and Steel mills
- Mineral product manufacturing
- Pulp mills
- Wood product manufacturing
- Natural gas transmission pipelines
- Refining and Upgrading of Petroleum
- Upstream oil and gas
- Other sectors
Regulated emitters can obtain more information about the program under the Guidance for Emitters page.
2. Saskatchewan Technology Fund
OBPS regulated emitters who exceed permitted emissions intensity levels are required to pay compliance, which can be met by using performance credits, or by paying into the Saskatchewan Technology Fund. These payments are then available to regulated emitters through a competitive application process to invest in innovative technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Applicants are first required to submit an initial expression of interest, which is reviewed by Innovation Saskatchewan. If successful, industry applicants are invited to submit a more substantive full project proposal, which is assessed by an independent panel of third-party experts. If the external panel determines that the project is both technically and financially feasible, the proposal is evaluated by the Saskatchewan Technology Fund Review Committee, which provides its recommendations to the Minister of Environment. The Minister of Environment awards funding for successful projects.
The fund announced its first intake on September 29, 2023, with approximately $25 million available to support industry-driven projects that mitigate, sequester, or capture greenhouse gas emissions at eligible regulated facilities in Saskatchewan.
Details concerning the application and evaluation processes and related timelines, as well as project eligibility, can be found on Innovation Saskatchewan’s website and in the fund’s recently updated Saskatchewan Technology Fund: Governance, Administration and Operations Standard.
Technology Fund Webinar
The Ministry of Environment hosted a webinar on October 26, 2023, that provided an overview of the Technology Fund and its first intake for regulated emitters.