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Energy incentives for BC pulp mill

Quesnel River Pulp could receive up to $1 million from FortisBC for reducing its energy consumption.

December 13, 2012  By  John Tenpenny

A division of West Fraser, Quesnel River Pulp has made significant commitments to reducing its energy consumption. For those achievements, the mill has received a $250,000 incentive from FortisBC, which could grow to $1 million over the next three years. The pulp mill is the first participant in FortisBC’s Industrial Technology Retrofit Program, which offers monetary incentives to industrial natural gas customers in exchange for energy efficiency improvement projects.

“Incentives like this make significant commitments to energy reduction for industrial customers viable,” said Doug Stout, vice president of energy solutions and external relations for FortisBC. “We’re thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with West Fraser, and we look forward to working with industrial customers to assist in improving the efficiency of their operations.”

By undertaking the program, Quesnel River Pulp will receive funding up to 50 per cent of the cost of its energy efficient upgrades, to a maximum of $1 million. The incentive from FortisBC covers the costs of the project, including new equipment, installation and old equipment removal, including taxes. With the aid of the incentive, Quesnel River Pulp may be able to reduce the payback period on its equipment investment within a few years.

“The incentive from FortisBC offers significant value to our operation. Our plant process uses a lot of energy, and this partnership with FortisBC has allowed us to make smart decisions with respect to equipment upgrades,” said Keith Carter, general manager of Quesnel River Pulp. “These upgrades reduce our dependence on fossil fuel energy sources and create savings which are critical to the competitiveness of our business.”


A major component contributing to the efficiency was the replacement of heat exchangers with more efficient spiral-wound units. The new units reduce the amount of natural gas required for drying the pulp. The pulp mill will save approximately 70,000 gigajoules (GJs) of natural gas annually, the equivalent amount of natural gas consumed by all customers in the city of Vancouver over the course of two days. The savings will also amount to an estimated 3,317 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 650 cars off the road per year.

The Industrial technology Retrofit Program is available for FortisBC industrial customers who use more than 10,000 GJs for process heating. Depending on consumption, participants have the option of receiving up to 75 per cent of the cost of implementing new equipment up to a maximum of $375,000, or receiving up to 50 per cent of the cost to a maximum of $1 million.

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