Green Power Project Results in Clean Air for Northern Alberta
Northern Alberta is becoming a centre for renewable energy, CEO of Canadian Hydro John Keating announced today at the Official Opening of the Grande Prairie EcoPower Centre. The $65-million, 25-megawatt biomass plant recycles wood waste into green power and heat, generating enough electricity to supply over 20,000 households per year.
"When you convert waste to wealth, everyone is a winner," said Keating. "The transformation of bark and sawdust into heat and power creates a sustainable advantage for the local community. Biomass energy allows for long-term stable prices and a more competitive industry."
Renewable energy projects like biomass and water power are major long-term capital assets, added Keating. "The EcoPower(R) Centre creates employment and a new tax base. It also cleans up Grande Prairie air with 80% fewer emissions, as the mill incinerator has now been shut down, and this offsets 170,000 tonnes per year of greenhouse gases."
"Canadian Hydro is committed to northern development," said Keating. "Our next endeavour in northern Alberta is the Dunvegan Hydroelectric Project, a run-of-river hydro plant on the Peace River."
Keating said Canadian Hydro demonstrated real persistence and teamwork on the creation of the EcoPower(R) Centre, which has taken many years to complete. "Biomass technology is complex and you have to be persistent in working out the systems. We have a very dedicated team of operating personnel here in Grande Prairie."
Other key partners included the Government of Alberta, the City of Grande Prairie and Canfor Corporation. Electricity from GPEC is sold under long-term contract to all three parties. The major boost was the leadership shown by the Government of Alberta, through Alberta Infrastructure, in purchasing 60 percent, or 110,000 MW per year, of the green power generated by this facility for 20 years.
"About 90 per cent of the power we use to operate government-owed facilities is green power," says Ty Lund, Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation. "We purchase nearly half of that from the Grande Prairie EcoPower(R) Centre. Together, we're taking action on climate change and improving the environment for future Albertans."
The City of Grande Prairie is also working to improve the local environment for its citizens, and has shown leadership by purchasing electricity from the project for 15 years.
Mayor of Grande Prairie, Wayne Ayling, said, "The City of Grande Prairie congratulates Canadian Hydro for the successful startup of the Grande Prairie EcoPower(R) Centre. We will benefit from the lower electricity rates, the upcoming district heating project and long-term investment by Canadian Hydro in our community. This project is another leading edge business that will add to our title as the fourth best place to live in Canada."
Canadian Hydro is a developer, owner and operator of 18 low-impact, renewable energy power plants using wind, water and biomass. For more information, please visit www.canhydro.com
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