By Dan MacLennan – Canada.com
A partnership of three companies is behind a proposal for a 35 megawatt wood-residue power station at Elk Falls.
Montreal-based Boralex, a major independent power producer with 41 power stations in Canada, the North-eastern United States and in France, has joined with Vancouver-based Pacific BioEnergy Corporation, a wood-pellet fuel developer, and TimberWest Forest Corporation to submit a proposal to BC Hydro’s call for bio-energy generation plants.
Details of the proposal are few as officials with BC Hydro and the three companies have been tight lipped, but Boralex confirmed the relationship in its 2010 annual report.
“In January (2011), a 35 MW wood-residue power station project developed jointly by Boralex, Pacific BioEnergy Corporation and TimberWest Forest Corporation was pre-selected under BC Hydro’s Phase II Biomass Call request for proposals,” the report states. “If this project is selected, the power station will be built at Campbell River. Several conditions must be met prior to project execution, mainly winning a 25-year power sales contract with BC Hydro, securing a wood supply agreement for the same term with Boralex’s partners and obtaining the required financing.”
Last June, BC Hydro put out the call for more power projects using clean or renewable biomass.
“We’re looking for projects that take fuel sources that might otherwise go to waste and use it to generate clean power for British Columbia’s benefit,” David Cobb, BC Hydro president and CEO, said in a release. “We are targeting up to 1,000 gigawatt hours per year of cost-effective energy – that’s enough to power close to 89,000 homes or a community the size of Kamloops.”
In January, BC Hydro released a list of eight ‘preferred proponent’ proposals including one in the Campbell River area called Campbell River Power Enterprises. A search of the numbered company shows the limited partnership was incorporated August 5, 2010. Officials from Boralex, Pacific Bioenergy and TimberWest are listed as directors of the numbered company.
Earlier this month, a Vancouver Sun story about a $1.03 billion buyout offer for TimberWest mentioned the company has tabled a proposal with BC Hydro, along with two other partners, to build a bio-energy and wood pellet facility on the site of its former Campbell River sawmill.
“I guess the genie’s out of the bottle as far as that goes,” Coun. Ziggy Stewart said last week. “There have been plans in the works for some time and we, as a council, we’re trying to keep a promise that we’ve made to the three partners that are involved in this that they would be the first ones to make any announcement. Unfortunately, this one has been made in the paper, and it’s a great news story, make no mistake about that, but it is out there now, so we’ll leave it out there until these three partners make their choices on how they want to present this.”
“It’s a good news story, but it isn’t our story,” said Mayor Charlie Cornfield. “It’s up to the proponents of the proposal to carry forward any information and not appropriate for me to make any statements. It’s not our property. It also depends on Hydro.”