Atlantic Power Inc. in Williams Lake has a 10-year-contract renewal with BC Hydro that went into effect on Oct. 1, 2019. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Atlantic Power gets new 10-year energy purchase agreement with BC Hydro

The company had been operating on a short-term contract

Atlantic Power Corporation has a new 10-year energy purchase agreement with BC Hydro for its plant in Williams Lake.

The new agreement went into effective Tuesday Oct. 1, and replaces the short-term one the company had been under since April 2, 2018.

“As we have highlighted previously, biomass plants provide benefits beyond the generation of electricity, including support for the local economy and timber industry, and environmental benefits, including forest management,” said Joe Cofelice, executive vice president, commercial development in a press release. “We are very pleased to be extending our longstanding relationship with our customer BC Hydro at Williams Lake in order to serve the interests of consumers, the environment and the local community. We thank all those in the local community who supported our efforts to obtain a new long-term contract for this plant.”

Conditions in the B.C. timber market for the past couple of years have adversely affected both the availability and cost of fuel, which as previously noted by the company represents the most significant operational and financial risk for Williams Lake.

The company was historically permitted to burn rail ties but has not since purchasing the plant in 2010.

However, in recent years, citing a decline in the Allowable Annual Cut (AAC), the company began pursuing a permit amendment to allow it to increase the amount of rail tie generated biomass it could burn.

When permission was granted, several appeals were launched by local citizens as well as the creation of the group Rail Ties Be Wise.

In 2019, the Environmental Appeal Board ruled in favour of the company.

Read more: Environmental Appeal Board rules in favour of Atlantic Power burning rail ties

Read more: Williams Lake city council endorses rail ties as “last resort” fuel source

Angie Delainey, one of the appelants for the appeal, said the renewed agreement is ‘good news’ for the community and she hopes there is no mention of burning rail ties.

“If we are still going to be burning ties than I’d say I’m disappointed in BC Hydro and our government that is supposed to be looking out for our well being,” she told the Tribune. “Being a guinea pig is not looking out for people. So I guess my response depends on what is actually in the permit.”

Atlantic Power Williams Lake business manager Frankie Nelson said the company is still evaluating its fuel supply options and a potential investment in a fuel shredder required to burn rail ties.

“No decision has been made at this time,” Nelson confirmed. “We will to have more to say on this subject in the coming months.”

With only a short-term contract with BC Hydro, the company said it has been procuring fuel only on a short-term basis.

Presently the plant employs 28 people, she added.

Bob Gammer, BC Hydro manager of Northern Community Relations, said BC Hydro is focused on keeping rates affordable for customers.

“The facility has a capacity of 66 megawatts and the renewal agreement is for 388.4 gigawatt-hours per year of electricity,” Gammer said. “Under the biomass energy program, we’re negotiating renewal contracts at lower prices and volumes with seven biomass generating facilities that have electricity purchase agreements due to expire before March 2022. To date, one other ten-year renewal agreement has been signed under program.”

We have reached out to BC Hydro, Atlantic Power and Rail Ties Be Wise for comments. Check back for an update to this article

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

B.C. Premier calls Quesnel a ‘hub of innovation’ in face of forestry downturn

Premier John Horgan tours Forestry Innovation Centre and meets with mayor, community representatives

Ulkatcho, Lhoosk’uz Dené sign agreements in support of Blackwater Mine project

Agreements commit to share portion of provincial mineral tax revenue collected from planned mine

Burst sprinkler system pipe forces evacuation at Glen Arbor Sunday in Williams Lake

At least three suites were damaged, most tenants can return to the seniors complex Tuesday

LETTER: Quesnel Cattlemen’s Association raise concerns over West Fraser Road detour

The association is “deeply concerned” about the condition of the detour route

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Protesters block B.C. government building entrance to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

Most Read