Quesnel River Pulp, a division of West Fraser, has received $250,000 in funding from FortisBC to support its energy efficiency projects. 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.
“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. “These upgrades reduce our dependence on fossil fuel energy sources and create savings which are critical to the competitiveness of our business."
One major efficiency upgrade was the replacement of heat exchangers with more efficient spiral-wound units, reports the company. The new units reduce the amount of natural gas required for drying the pulp. The pulp mill will save approximately 70,000 gigajoules (GJs) of natural gas annually, the equivalent amount of natural gas consumed by all customers in the city of Vancouver over the course of two days. The savings will also amount to an estimated 3,317 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
“Incentives like this make significant commitments to energy reduction for industrial customers viable," said Doug Stout, vice-president of energy solutions and external relations for FortisBC.
By undertaking the program, Quesnel River Pulp will receive funding up to 50% of the cost of its energy efficient 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.
FortisBC is a regulated utility providing natural gas, electricity, propane and thermal energy solutions.