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



news@wltribune.com

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

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

Williams Lake approves temporary liquor establishment area expansions due to COVID-19

Liquor Control and Regulation Branch issues application process for interested businesses

Williams Lake council seeks public feedback on First Nations shovel-ready cannabis facility

Williams Lake Indian Band’s farm-to-gate store will be built on First Nations land within city limits

Cariboo ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Flood watches issued for Quesnel, Horsefly Rivers

Flows rising in response to snowmelt and rainfall, continued rises expected

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Williams Lake Tribune continue its mission to provide trusted local news

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

Most Read