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West Fraser signs deal to supply Alberta sawmills with solar power


March 10, 2020
By innogy

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innogy has signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with West Fraser Timber Co. for the supply of green power from innogy’s Canadian Vauxhall solar plant (27 MWp). The agreement will cover an essential part of the electricity that West Fraser, a leading North American diversified wood production company, needs to hedge its on-peak sawmill load in Alberta and to meet its environmental targets.

The long-term contract will run for 10 years, starting in May 2020. innogy’s solar farm will supply an annual production of more than 45,000 MWh of carbon-free energy and environmental attributes to West Fraser.

Katja Wünschel, senior vice-president renewables operations onshore and solar at innogy SE, says: “We aim to continue to expand renewables worldwide, by working on PPA-based projects and partnerships such as this one with West Fraser. The PPA enables us to operate our Vauxhall solar farm without any provincial subsidies. It shows that climate protection is possible under current market conditions.”

“This deal is exemplary for the modern, competitive renewable energy world. Besides the fact that we can run our solar farm on a merchant basis, it allows West Fraser to run their production in a climate-friendly manner by significantly cutting carbon emissions,” adds Keith Moseley, commercial director at innogy SE.

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“West Fraser has a track record of investing in innovations focused on sustainable energy systems and developing renewable energy sources. Today 75 per cent of our energy is renewable, and that will grow further as a result of this solar power partnership,” says Keith Carter, vice president pulp and energy operations at West Fraser. “We’re pleased to partner with innogy on this project, and to secure competitively-priced renewable energy to sustainably supply our Alberta sawmills.”

The large-scale Vauxhall photovoltaic plant (Prairie Sunlight III) located in Southern Alberta, near to the town of Vauxhall, is currently in the commissioning phase. Also, innogy is close to completing construction of a second solar farm nearby in Hull (Prairie Sunlight II, 30 MW), which will commence commercial operations in Q2 2020. After full commissioning, the two photovoltaic plants will produce enough green electricity to supply the equivalent of about 12,500 Canadian homes. innogy’s subsidiary BELECTRIC is responsible for the entire construction, and it will also take on operation and maintenance of the solar farm as a service provider.