Boundary Dam power station

From Global Energy Monitor

Boundary Dam power station is the largest coal fired station owned by SaskPower, located near Estevan, Saskatchewa, Canada. The plant currently has an installed capacity of 563 megawatts (MW).

The rebuilt unit 3 is also known as the Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture & Storage Demonstration Project.


The undated satellite photo below shows the plant, which is located near Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada. There is also Boundary Dam (constructed in 1957) located next to the station. It is an earth fill dam, which created the Boundary Reservoir on Long Creek a few kilometres west of the river's mouth on the Souris River. The station uses water from the reservoir for coolant.

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The Boundary Dam power station consists of:[1]

  • Units 1-2, 62 MW each, commissioned in 1960. Unit 1 was retired in May 2013,[2] and unit 2 in 2014.[3]
  • Units 3-5, 150 MW each, units 3-4 were commissioned in 1970 and unit 5 in 1973. Unit 3 was shut down and rebuilt with a Carbon Capture and Storage Unit added, with the Rebuilt Unit 3 (110 MW) commissioned in October 2014.[4]
  • Unit 6 - a 293 MW unit commissioned in 1978.[1]


Units 1-2

In May 2013 SaskPower announced the retirement of the 62 MW Unit 1 after over 50 years in operation. In a media release SaskPower stated that the closure followed "federal carbon dioxide (CO2) regulations that were announced in 2012, calling for coal-fired units which have been operating for 50 years or more to meet new emissions standards by July 1, 2015. Retrofitting Unit #1 in time to meet the new regulations was not deemed economically feasible by SaskPower."[1]

SaskPower stated that at the time of the closure the unit generated "approximately 350,000 tonnes" of carbon dioxide emissions.[1]

Unit 2 was retired in 2014.[3]

Units 4-5

In July 2018, SaskPower and the Saskatchewan government said there was “simply not a business case” to retrofit Boundary Dam units 4 and 5 with carbon capture and storage (CCS), as they did unit 3.[5] Without CCS, federal regulations require the units retire by 2019. The provincial government hopes to extend the lifespan of Boundary Dam unit 4 and 5 to 2021 and 2024, respectively, but will need approval from the Canadian government.[6]

On December 29, 2018 the Canadian Government published a draft "equivalency agreement" with the Saskatchewan provincial government which is open for public comment for 60 days. Under the terms of the agreement SaskPower's Boundary Dam Units 4 & 5 would be allowed to operate respectively until December 2021 and 2024.[7] Unit 4 was retired in December 2021.[8]

In April 2022, SaskPower announced that the retired Unit 4 would be placed on standby until at least April 2023. The unit was not brought back online, but rather put on reserve in order to mitigate energy security concerns. In April 2023, the company would re-evaluate the need for the additional capacity.[9]

Unit 6

Under the Canada Environmental Protection Act, coal-fired power plants are required to shut down when they reach end-of-life, which generally occurs 50 years after commissioning. Boundary Dam Unit 6, commissioned in 1978, will reach end-of-life in 2028.[10]

Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration Project

The Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture & Storage Demonstration Project is a US$1.4 billion project to retrofit the coal-fired unit 3 with carbon capture and an enhanced oil recovery system.[11] The project when complete is expected to result in 1 million tonnes/year reduction in CO2 emissions. It will also reduce the output of Unit 3 from 139 MW to 110 MW.[12] The Canadian federal government paid $240 million towards the project.[12] SaskPower contributed US$940.1 million in equity toward the project.[13]

In July 2018, SaskPower and the Saskatchewan government announced they will not be expanding carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology on any more coal-fired plants in the near future. Dustin Duncan, the minister responsible for SaskPower and the environment, said there is “simply not a business case” to retrofit Boundary Dams 4 and 5.[14]

The plant's CCS system has been plagued with mechanical failures and unscheduled shut-downs. In January 2022, it was reported that the plant's CCS system 43 percent fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021 compared with the year before.[15]

A September 2022 Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis report found that the CCS system operated significantly below the target capture rate of 90%. In fact, the average rate was only about 50%. The target had rarely been met for a single day, and was never met over an extended period of time.[16]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: SaskPower
  • Location: Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Coordinates: 49.0957459, -103.030413 (exact)
  • Status:
    • Unit 1: Retired
    • Unit 2: Retired
    • Unit 3: Operating
    • Unit 4: Mothballed
    • Unit 5: Operating
    • Unit 6: Operating
  • Nameplate capacity:
    • Unit 1: 62 MW
    • Unit 2: 62 MW
    • Unit 3: 110 MW
    • Unit 4: 150 MW
    • Unit 5: 150 MW
    • Unit 6: 293 MW
  • Type: Subcritical, CCS (Unit 3)
  • Projected in service: 1973, 1978, 2014
  • Coal Type: Lignite
  • Coal Source:
  • Estimated annual CO2:
  • Source of financing: $240 million in grants from the government of Canada;[12] US$940.1 million in equity from SaskPower[13]
  • Permits and applications:

Articles and resources

Related articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Boundary Dam Power Station", SaskPower, accessed August 2018.
  2. SaskPower, "Oldest Boundary Dam unit retired from SaskPower generating fleet after more than 50 years of service", Media Release, May 1, 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "What will saskpower do next time?" International CCS Knowledge, 2014
  4. "SaskPower launches world’s first commercial CCS process", Media Release, October 2, 2014.
  5. "Sask. not moving forward on carbon capture expansion," REGINA LEADER-POST, July 10, 2018
  6. "SaskPower abandons carbon capture at Boundary Dam 4 and 5," CBC, July 9, 2018
  7. Kevin O'Connor and Olivier Daoust, "Saskatchewan reaches deal with Ottawa on coal-burning power plants", CBC, January 12, 2019.
  8. 22 Storylines to Watch in 2022, Discover Estevan, Dec. 31, 2021
  9. Boundary Dam Unit 4 will remain available for SaskPower into 2023, Sask Today, April 8, 2022
  10. Emissions Regulation Applicable to Coal-Fired Power Generation, Saskpower
  11. Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration Project
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "Sask. going ahead with $1.2B carbon capture project", CBC, April 26, 2011.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Preview of Boundary Dam CCS Plant (110MW) | Transaction | IJGlobal". Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  14. "Sask. not moving forward on carbon capture expansion," Regina Leader-Post, July 10, 2018
  15. CCS ‘red flag?’ World’s sole coal project hits snag, E&E News, Jan. 10, 2022
  16. Most major carbon capture and storage projects haven't met targets, New Scientist, Sept. 1, 2022

External links

Wikipedia also has an article on Boundary Dam power station (Boundary Dam power station). This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License]