Excessive energy use in the industrial/commercial space consumes scarce resources and increases costs for businesses. Encouraging businesses to conserve energy through enhanced energy efficiency measures is a logical first step toward tackling GHG emissions. A co-benefit of this approach is lower energy-related costs for businesses, leading to enhanced industry competitiveness. It is imperative that all businesses seek to use resources as prudently as possible and that governments formulate policies to incentivize this.
The SCC maintains that a federally-imposed carbon tax is not the appropriate mechanism for reducing GHG emissions in the province, given the outsized presence of energy-intense, trade-exposed industries (EITE) operating in Saskatchewan. Promoting enhanced energy efficiency and conservation measures will serve to improve business competitiveness both locally and globally, address environmental concerns, as well as strengthen companies’ social license to operate. Reducing energy consumption per unit of production makes sense from both a business and an environmental standpoint. Government operating at all levels must direct their policies towards accomplishing this objective.
While opposing the implementation of federally-imposed carbon pricing, the SCC alternatively supports technological investments and incentives to further actions around energy efficiency. Both the Government of Saskatchewan and the Government of Canada can play a role in helping to improve energy efficiency across the province by instituting a combination of financial incentives, disincentives, building code standards, and business tax changes that create the ROI conditions necessary to spark meaningful actions around energy conservation among energy users. Actions should focus on commercial, industrial, agricultural, and municipal consumers.