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Ontario biomass power plant ran continuously


October 26, 2016
By Ontario Power Generation

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Ontario Power Generation’s diverse generating sources, including two biomass-fueled stations in Atikokan and Thunder Bay, ensured Northwestern Ontario had the power it needed during this hot summer.

“Atikokan and Thunder Bay are designed to provide clean, renewable power when it’s needed and that’s exactly what they’ve done,” says Mike Martelli, OPG’s president, renewable generation and power marketing. Martelli noted the two biomass-fuelled plants provided needed backup energy when Hydro One was conducting maintenance on a local transformer station. “This shows the value of having diverse sources of electricity,” he added.

Atikokan ran continuously from late July to early September, and Thunder Bay operated as needed to support Hydro One’s transformer replacement work.

Martelli noted that local fuel suppliers, Rentech and Resolute, and local trucking company, Gardewine, stepped up to ensure Atikokan had adequate fuel supplies. Along with Arbaflame, who provides fuel for Thunder Bay GS, the suppliers accelerated fuel deliveries so the stations could operate safely to meet system needs.

Refueling two of OPG’s thermal stations with biomass provides Ontario with renewable, dispatchable power. It also optimizes the use of existing publically-owned assets. OPG completed conversion of Atikokan in July 2014, making it the largest capacity, 100 per cent biomass-fueled power plant in North America. The Thunder Bay conversion to advanced biomass followed soon after in January 2015. OPG also operates 11 hydroelectric facilities in Northwestern Ontario.