B.C. Power Plants Fuelled By Sawmill, Logging Waste

Conifex’s $100-million wood-fueled power plant was put on hold two years ago because financing fell through, but it is now back on track. The B.C.-based company expects to be producing power at the Mackenzie site in northern B.C. by the end of September. The plant is among the first of a slate of projects that […]

Conifex’s $100-million wood-fueled power plant was put on hold two years ago because financing fell through, but it is now back on track. The B.C.-based company expects to be producing power at the Mackenzie site in northern B.C. by the end of September.

The plant is among the first of a slate of projects that will come on stream in the next two years to produce so-called green energy and to deal with increasing waste from pine-beetle killed timber, a plan first envisioned in 2008 by the B.C. Liberals under then-premier Gordon Campbell.

While there have been a number of biomass power projects constructed within pulp mills as part of B.C.’s biomass energy push, the Conifex plant will be one of the first major stand-alone biomass power producers since a plant was built in Williams Lake in the 1980s.

The Williams Lake plant produces about 68 megawatts, while the Conifex plant in remote Mackenzie in northern B.C. will produce 36 megawatts. That’s enough electricity to power 16,000 homes a year.

“In terms of a stand-alone electrical generating facility, this is certainly the first in a long time, and the biggest,” said Pat Bell, Conifex’s executive vice-president and a former B.C. forestry minister. “What I think makes it really important is that Conifex has not gone down a path of just trying to reduce costs; instead, we’ve gone down a path of trying to get more value from a resource. It’s a fundamental operating principle of our company. We want to start at the tree and figure how to get value out of it.”

From The Vancouver Sun: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Power+plants+fuelled+sawmill+logging+waste+produce+electricity+this+year/9886043/story.html

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