BC community to reduce GHG emissions with hydrogen power system
Vancouver, B.C. — The town of Bella Coola, British Columbia, will soon be the site of a state-of-the-art energy system that will demonstrate a clean power solution for remote communities. The HARP project is a partnership between BC Hydro, General Electric (GE), and Powertech. The Project is supported by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), a not-for-profit corporation created by the Government of Canada.
By Rob Colman
“The HARP project will address two challenges,” said Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “It will reduce Bella Coola’s annual diesel consumption by 200,000 litres — lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 600 tonnes annually, and provide storage for run-of-river power, so the electricity can be used when the community needs it most.”
Bella Coola, which is 439 kilometres north of Vancouver, is not connected to BC Hydro’s grid. Currently, the town is powered by diesel generators, which emit greenhouse gases, and by a run-of-river facility which, while clean, is not capable of storing energy.
This peak power shaving system works by converting electricity from a renewable source (run-of-river), in off peak periods, into hydrogen through an electrolyzer, and subsequently into electricity through a fuel cell for power during periods of peak demand.
“Powertech is a leader in providing clean energy consulting, testing, and system solutions such as this HARP project,” said Mossadiq S. Umedaly, Powertech Executive Chairman. “This project demonstrates how the integration of renewable power and clean fuel cell technology can displace diesel generation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The benefits will be optimized through the use of a microgrid system which will wirelessly monitor and react to changes in supply and demand. A Microgrid Controller will find the most economically efficient way to manage energy for the community.
“By bringing together our innovation and global research capability to develop solutions such as the Microgrid Controller, GE is in a unique position to assist remote communities, such as Bella Coola, in solving one of their toughest energy challenges,” states Larry Sollecito, President and CEO, GE Digital Energy. “This technology can be used by remote communities around the world.”
“This project is a concrete example of how clean technologies can have a real impact on the lives of Canadians,” said SDTC President and CEO Vicky J. Sharpe.” By combining renewable power with microgrid technology, the Bella Coola project can improve the quality of life of people living in remote communities while reducing the environmental impacts of power generation.”
Testing of the system is now underway at Powertech. Once testing is complete, BC Hydro will move the equipment to Bella Coola and construct the project. It will begin operating later in 2009.
For more information visit www.bchydro.com.