Metro garbage burner loses key energy customer

Region's incinerator to switch to selling just electricity

Metro Vancouver’s garbage incinerator in south Burnaby is being forced to retool because it can no longer sell steam to an adjacent industrial plant.

The Norampac linerboard mill – which was the only buyer of steam from the waste-to-energy plant – will close down in December, parent firm Cascades Inc. announced.

That means Metro must upgrade the incinerator at a cost of $4.2 million to turn all of the steam it generates into electricity for sale to the power grid, Metro utility planning manager Toivo Allas said.

The incinerator burns 285,000 tonnes of garbage per year and about a third of the steam produced was piped next door to Norampac.

Selling steam was more lucrative than selling electricity, so the conversion will cut into Metro’s revenue.

The region earned $11 million from the waste-to-energy plant last year and senior engineers say that will drop to about $7 million next year because of the loss of steam sales.

They expect revenue will rebound, but how much depends on Metro securing a higher electricity rate from BC Hydro when the power sales contract is renegotiated in 2013.

Metro hopes most of the electricity output from the incinerator will be counted as green energy and fetch a higher price under B.C.’s Clean Energy Act.

Right now about 63 per cent of the electricity would qualify because it is derived from organic and other non-fossil fuel sources.

The region has also considered building a pipeline to carry hot water eight kilometres west to heat a huge housing development being built in southeast Vancouver.

The challenges selling steam may provide lessons for Metro as it plans to build new waste-to-energy plants to handle an extra 500,000 tonnes of garbage that the region will stop sending to the Cache Creek landfill.

Officials hope any new plant or plants can be located where they can tie into a district energy system serving a cluster of buildings or industries, rather than be tied to a single customer.

The extra revenue versus just generating electricity could save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the life of the plant, Metro has estimated.

Just Posted

Chilliwack students learn about business and charity during entrepreneurship fair

Mt. Slesse Grade 8 kids will be donating 20 per cent of their business profits to the food bank

Work wrapping up in Chilliwack on the Valley Rail Trail expansion

The trail is envisioned as the north-south spine of a future cycling network

Chilliwack saw sub-tropical blast of warm air Wednesday

It didn’t break any official records but it was warmer than usual by several degrees

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

GW Graham wallops Ballenas Whalers in junior football playoff

Logan Buchwitz scored four touchdowns for the Grizzlies in a one-sided 40-0 win.

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

TransLink will immediately suspend work on light rail

Lower Mainland couple missing in Thompson-Okanagan area

Barriere RCMP received a missing persons report for two senior overdue travellers

Vancouver Warriors cancel first 2 weeks of season as labour dispute continues

The announcement means games scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 will no longer be played

Most Read