Premier Brian Pallister is seeking federal support for a Manitoba Hydro transmission line to Saskatchewan.
“We need another pipeline and that’s a green energy pipeline that can link our country, that can help us achieve climate-change reduction targets and move to a greener economy nationally,” said Pallister, during a conference call Friday.
The premier said he spoke directly to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the idea during a trip to attend Friday’s first ministers meeting in Montreal. Pallister said he received an enthusiastic response but declined to reveal the prime minister’s exact words.
The premier said the latest power exports planned to Saskatchewan depend on a transmission line from Birtle to the Manitoba/Saskatchewan boundary, which is expected to cost between $60 million and $65 million. And that would be much easier to afford with federal support, he said.
“As you know, we have excess capacity in Hydro and we’re looking for people that want to buy it. And why not Canadians?,” said Pallister.
In October, the province announced a long-term deal to provide up to 215 megawatts of power to Saskatchewan, starting in 2022. The project is currently undergoing a licensing process and terms of the agreement are expected to be finalized by the middle of 2019.
If approved as is, the plan could provide Saskatchewan power for at least 18 years.
Pallister said federal funds would go a long way to getting the line built, which would result in a notable reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions.
“The prime minister is definitely committed, as are we in Manitoba, to doing our part for green … and Saskatchewan needs to get off coal-produced (power),” he said.
Pallister said he’s also hopeful that further progress could extend Manitoba’s power sales to additional provinces.
“I think the longer term discussion that needs to be undertaken and the better one, frankly, from an environmental standpoint, is to start acting on the concept of a national green pipeline,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pallister said there was also progress on removing internal trade barriers between provinces.
“I’ve been involved with this particular challenge since the 90s and, I can tell you, I’ve seen more progress in the last couple of years then I saw in the first 20 (years) on this issue. We are making headway and we’ll be releasing an updated list of progress in the not-too-distant future,” said Pallister.