December 12, 2012 - Quesnel River Pulp, a division of West Fraser, has made significant commitments to reducing its energy consumption, says FortisBC. For those achievements, the mill has received a $250,000 incentive from the utility, which could grow to $1 million over the next three years.
By Anthony Capkun
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, VP 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% of the cost of its energy efficiency 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.
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 about 70,000 gigajoules (GJs) of natural gas annually.
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% of the cost of implementing new equipment up to a maximum of $375,000, or receiving up to 50% of the cost to a maximum of $1 million.