Wednesday, February 29, 2012

SaskPower 175 MW wind RFP successful proponent announced: Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp.

Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. ("APUC") announceed that Algonquin Power Co. ("APCo"), APUC's power generation subsidiary, was the successful proponent under Saskatchewan Power Corporation's ("SaskPower") Request for Proposal ("RFP") CO/690.

APCo's 177 megawatt Chaplin Wind Project (the "Project") will be located in the Rural Municipality of Chaplin, Saskatchewan, 200 km south-west of Regina, Saskatchewan, with construction completion targeted for December 2016. The Project will be constructed at an estimated capital cost of $355 million CAD and consist of approximately 77 multi-megawatt wind turbines. The Project is in the same area as the existing 152 MW SaskPower Centennial Wind Farm.

The Project enjoys an excellent wind resource, consistent with APCo's existing wind power projects in the province of Saskatchewan, and will satisfy the energy needs of approximately 70,000 homes. The Project is expected to generate first full year EBITDA of $37.5 million CAD. All energy will be sold under a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement ("PPA") between SaskPower and APCo's wholly owned subsidiary Windlectric Inc. The PPA has an annual commercial power purchase rate escalation of 0.6% of the tariff in the preceding year. The Project was jointly originated in 2009 by APCo and Gaia Power Inc.

"Achieving this award in the SaskPower RFP process is both exciting and significant to the size and long term contracted nature of APCo's renewable energy portfolio", commented Ian Robertson, Chief Executive Officer of APUC. "We are very pleased with the continuing growth of our wind energy portfolio in the Province of Saskatchewan and the benefits of its excellent wind regime."

SaskPower has yet to issue a formal Press Release.

In March 2011 Algonquin purchased two proposed wind energy development projects near Morse, Saskatchewan each with a capacity of 10 MW from Kineticor Renewables Inc. The total estimated capital cost of both projects is $55 to $60 million CAD. The development phase is expected to be completed in late 2013. The projects are to be constructed about 180 km south-west of Regina, near Morse. Morse is about 25 km from Algonquin's new Chaplin Project.

Algonquin also owns the 26 MW Red Lily Project near Moosomin, Saskatchewan which was commissioned in February 2011.

Source: (in part) Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. Press Release - 02/28/2012 16:10

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wind energy construction in Finland may double in little more than a year

Construction of wind power came almost to an end in Finland last year, but is now restarting. The amount of wind power provided to the grid may double in little more than a year. According to the Executive Director of the Finnish Wind Energy association, Anni Mikkonen, this year building permits have already been granted for 100 MW of projects. This is a lot if you compare the total with the number of completed wind power projects. At the end of 2010 there were 130 turbines whose output totaled 197 MW. Last year, only three small scale wind energy projects were completed in Finland. The delays are most commonly caused by complicated application processes and bureaucracy. However, both issues are now being addressed in Finland. The Finnish Department of Defence has finally started their studies on the effect of wind farms on radar data and the flight altitude recommendations above wind sites have been revised.

Source: Helsingin Sanomat, with special thanks to my lovely wife Minna-Riitta for the translation from Finnish to English

Monday, February 27, 2012

36 MW First Nations biomass project moving forward in Northern Saskatchewan

Engineers are designing the $150 million CAD Meadow Lake Bioenergy Centre that will be built on 10 acres of land at Norsask Forest Products east of the city in Northern Saskatchewan. The site will be prepared this summer and the majority of construction done in 2013 on the structure that will burn wood by-products to produce enough green energy to power 36,000 homes.

“We’re very focused on it,” said Ben Voss, president and CEO of resource development for Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC). MLTC signed a 25-year agreement with SaskPower in 2011 to sell the utility power. About 200 workers will be needed for the construction phase, said Voss. They include people who haul gravel, heavy equipment operators, steam pipe welders and millwrights. “We want to try to work as much as possible on training and seeking ways to get people from our own communities involved,” said Voss. Gord Iron runs a program at MLTC that will identify workers who have the proper skills. Skilled trades workers will also be drawn from Robwel, Tron Power and construction companies, said Voss. The crew will likely be accommodated in Atco trailers near the construction site, at Flying Dust or at Canoe Lake.

“There are a number of other business opportunities for the area,” said Voss. “You have 200 people working. They need to be fed. They need to be taken care of. There are a number of other services that go with that.” The Bioenergy Centre will work much the same way as a steam locomotive, he said. “You literally have a place where the fuel is pushed in and it’s burning,” he said. “That burns very hot and produces steam through a boiler. The steam is then put through a pipeline to a turbine and the turbine is the same thing as you’d see on an aircraft… the steam drives the turbine and the turbine drives a generator that makes electricity.”

The Bioenergy Centre will produce 36 megawatts (36,000 kilowatts) of power. Voss said a typical home in Saskatchewan consumes one kilowatt. The power will be fed into the grid and transmitted to homes, farms and businesses. “The electricity that comes to Meadow Lake right now is generated (far away) in places such as Estevan or Saskatoon,” he said. “When it’s transported that far there are transmission losses. By putting generation right in Meadow Lake it reduces that loss.” SaskPower president and CEO Robert Watson said the utility must double its production over the next 10 to 15 years to meet the increased demand for power. It wants to use green power to close the gap. If all goes according to plan, the Bioenergy Centre will be up and running in 2014 seven days a week, 24-hours a day.

Source: The Meadow Lake Progress

Friday, February 24, 2012

Investing in renewables: Analysts recommending investing in utilities, IPPs and developers while avoiding manufacturers

As most are aware, solar PV cell and wind turbine manufacturers are trading significantly lower than their peak levels in 2007/8.

The stock of Danish Vestas Wind Systems AS, the world's largest wind turbine manufacturer, has dropped 90% over the past four years. The United States' leading solar PV manufacturer, First Solar Inc. has fallen from more than $250 USD to just over $40 USD in the same 4 year period. Norwegian solar equipment manufacturer Renewable Energy Corp. is trading at 1/40 of its price at the start of 2008. Similarly Spain's turbine manufacturer Gamesa Corp., China's solar PV cell manufacturer Suntech Power Holdings and India's turbine manufacturer Suzlon Energy Inc. all have seen their shares drop over the past few years. QCells, Germany's large solar PV cell manufacturer had to restructure its debt to stave off bankruptcy. Large global companies, like Vestas and First Solar, have strong balance sheets which will allow them to survive - albeit with lower margins - until things pick up but smaller companies are facer bigger problems.

Solar PV and wind manufacturers are facing 4 major problems:

- low natural gas prices;
- new production in China;
- less favourable political climate both in Europe and North America; and
- the global economic downturn has prompted governments and corporations to tighten support and spending on renewables.

A better bet for investors is to consider utilities, power producers or developers who can actually take advantage of the downward pressure in equipment prices like Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP, a Canadian dividend-paying stock with power plants in Canada, the U.S. and Brazil. In contrast to the equipment makers, it has seen its stock rise about 35% since the beginning of 2008.

Sources (in part): Globe Investor, Bloomberg, The Globe and Mail, Richard Blackwell

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chad Eggerman in Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden presenting on District Energy in Canada: Developments, Projects and Investment Opportunities

I will be delivering a presentation and attending a networking luncheon at the Canadian Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark on Tuesday March 6, 2012 at 10:00am – 2:00pm. The seminar is entitled District Energy in Canada: Developments, Projects and Investment Opportunities and will be undertaken along with keynote speaker, Mary-Ellen Richardson, President of the Canadian District Energy Association.

Mary-Ellen and I will deliver a similar presentation in Stockholm, Sweden on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 3:00pm – 5:00pm followed by a networking reception.

District energy is on the move across Canada. From east to west new systems are being developed at a faster pace than ever before. Municipalities are looking to district energy solutions to help meet their greenhouse gas reduction goals, attract new development and tap underutilized local resources. Combined heat and power is becoming more common, and natural gas-fired plants are being augmented with energy from geoexchange, solar thermal, biomass, biogas, deep water cooling and waste heat recovery sources.

Invitations and additional details regarding the presentations are attached below:

Copenhagen, Denmark Invitation

Stockholm, Sweden Invitation

For those of my contacts, clients, friends and former colleagues in Copenhagen and Stockholm, I would welcome your attendance at the presentation or the opportunity to meet.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Munich-based Siemens long-term growth strategy for Western Canada focused on Saskatchewan as plans for further expansion in the province move ahead

In November 2011, Munich, Germany-based Siemens, one of the largest and most diversified companies in the world operating in the energy and mining sectors, acquired Regina, Saskatchewan-based Prairie West Technical Services. Less than 4 months after acquiring Prairie West, Siemens annouced earlier this month they are aiming to expand the operation, which specializes in large electric motor repair and service for the mining and oil and gas industries in Saskatchewan.

“For us, it’s really the start of the investment,” said Michael Gross, senior vice-president, industry sector, Siemens Canada, referring to the German company’s decision to acquire Prairie West — its first major investment in Saskatchewan — rather than start from scratch.

“At the speed the economy in Saskatchewan is developing, it would have taken, from our point of view, way too long. That’s why we decided to go with an M&A (mergers and acquisitions) strategy and buy a company and grow that company.’’

With the acquisition completed in November, Gross and his staff have been working to make Prairie West and its 60 employees part of Siemens Canada, which has 4,000 employees and annual sales of $3 billion. “We’re in the process of integration,’’ Gross said in an phone interview from Siemens Canada headquarters in Toronto.

That integration process included a visit to the Prairie West facility in January by Ralf-Michael Franke, CEO of the drive technologies division, industry sector, of Munich-based Siemens AG. (Siemens, Europe’s largest electronics and electrical engineering firm, is divided into three sectors — industry, energy and health care. The industry sector has three divisions, one of which is drive technologies.)

While a small acquisition for Siemens, Prairie West, which has branch operations in Saskatoon and Sudbury, is an integral part of the company’s plans to expand into the mining and oil and gas sectors. “Prairie West is very strong in terms of potash mining ... Prairie West was, for us, the perfect target to have a significant entry into that market and form the nucleus to grow the business.”

Gross said mining and oil and gas development figure highly in Siemens Canada’s plans. “We’re defining a detailed strategy and growth plan for our vertical minerals (business) and one of the core areas is going to be Saskatchewan. We’ve already had the first discussions on how fast we can grow.’’

In fact, one of the challenges facing Siemens is going to be staffing its facilities as they gear up for expansion. “One of the (problems) here is how to get skilled labour. You might be willing to grow faster, but you just don’t get the people.’’

Siemens has already undertaken projects in Saskatchewan, In 2010 Nokia Siemens Networks was awarded a significant contract to upgrade SaskTel's 3G mobile phone infrastructure. Nokia Siemens Networks is based in Espoo, Finland.

In addition to being involved in the mining, oil and gas and IT sectors, Siemens is a global player in the renewable and conventional energy sectors. It is expected that in the future Siemens will make further moves into this area in Western Canada from their Saskatchewan base of operations.

Source: (in part) Leader Post, Bruce Johnstone

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nova Scotia Community Feed-In Tariff (COMFIT) projects approved

The Nova Scotia Department of Energy has approved a further round of Community Feed-In Tariff (COMFIT) projects. The five projects include wind farms being developed by Millbrook First Nation, the Halifax Regional Water Commission, the District of Chester, the Town of New Glasgow and Celtic Current. "These projects harness the energy of their communities in more ways than one. Not only do they use local resources for the good of the surrounding area, they bring neighbours together in a spirit of cooperation and self-sufficiency," says Energy Minister Charlie Parker.

The Millbrook First Nation project is a 6 MW wind project and the first Mi'kmaq COMFIT project application approved. It is anticipated that the Mi'kmaq First Nation will have subsequent renewable energy projects approved under the COMFIT.

Municipalities, First Nations, co-operatives, universities, community economic development funds and not-for-profit groups can apply to the COMFIT in Nova Scotia. The COMFIT program will help the province of Nova Scotia reach its aggressive renewable electricity targets of 25 percent renewable electricity by 2015 and 40 per cent by 2020. The province expects 100 megawatts to be produced through the COMFIT.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Canada now ranked 6th globally in new wind capacity: $3.1 billion CAD invested in 2011 adding 1,267 MW

The Canadian government has been working hard lately to pitch Canada is an energy superpower and this seems to ring truer every day. Apart from being the world’s 6th largest crude oil producer, Canada has emerged as a renewable energy giant after being ranked 6th globally in new installed wind energy capacity, according to statistics released recently by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). Canada attracted $3.1 billion CAD in the wind energy sector in 2011 adding 1,267 megawatt of new capacity to provincial grids, a 21% improvement over the previous year. Canada now boasts total capacity of 5,265 MW of wind energy after new projects were built and commissioned in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia during 2011. The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) expects 2012 to be another record year for wind development in Canada with approximately 1,500 MW of new developments expected to come online in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. “With similar or higher levels of growth expected over the next four years, Canada’s wind energy industry is on pace to easily surpass 10,000 MW of total installed capacity by 2015 – keeping the country on track to meet CanWEA’s national WindVision target of supplying 20% of Canada’s electricity needs by 2025,” said a CanWEA statement.

Source: Yadullah Hussain, Financial Post

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Swedish company proposes floating wind farms for Malta and Cyprus

Swedish company Hexicon AB, recently submitted a Project Description Statement to the Malta Environment and Planning Authority. This is the first time the project was made public although in May 2011 a number of foreign websites had referred to the endorsement of this project by regulatory authorities in Malta, Sweden and Cyprus in a bid to obtain EU funding for this renewable energy project.

According to the report, a location on the northeast of Malta 11 nautical miles from shore, where water depths vary between 100 and 150 metres, has already been identified. A cable would link the wind-farm to an offshore substation in Maghtab.

Malta will have to increase its renewable energy share to 10% from the current 1-2% by 2020.

The plant will produce 54MW, which amounts to 9% of the energy currently generated by the two existing power stations, and 24MW more than projected from the proposed Sikka l-Bajda windfarm.

The PDS claims that this development will enable Malta to meet its EU commitment to generate 10% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. It also promises "the production of energy at a more competitive rate than oil based power generating facilities".

Hexicon's technology for large-scale, floating platforms for wind and wave power was analysed and reviewed by the Swedish Energy Agency, the Malta Resources Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment of the Republic of Cyprus.

The hexagon shaped platform will be constructed on the basis of offshore oil rig platform technology. The company claims that its platform has an expected lifespan of 50 years while the turbines have a life expectancy of 25 years.

Source: Malta Today, Thursday 16 February 2012 edition

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

3 innovative clean technology projects receive Go Green funding in Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan provincial government is providing Go Green funding for three new projects that address the government's priority areas of biodiversity, education and awareness, greenhouse gas emissions reduction and water conservation, the Ministry of Environment announced earlier this month in a government Press Release.

1. Eat Healthy Foods of Regina will receive $36,000 CAD for an efficient cold storage project that will use cold outdoor air to operate grocery store refrigerators and freezers and reduce electrical consumption. For about six months of the year, Saskatchewan's outdoor temperatures are low enough to keep coolers and freezer units in grocery stores at good, safe temperatures. If proven effective, the technology could be adopted throughout most of Canada and in other northerly climates such as Northern Europe.

2. The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan is developing a series of classroom and field activities and teaching resources focusing on native plants and habitats. The Go Green Fund is contributing $24,000 CAD for the initiative, which will enable the society to develop a program that helps young people learn more about the importance of natural habitats and how they can conserve them.

3. Ground Effects Environmental Services Ltd. (GEE) of Regina will receive $49,000 CAD from the Go Green Fund to test its new ElectroPure Technology, which is designed to limit the use of fresh water by industry through the treatment and reuse of existing industrial waste water. Evraz, one of the largest vertically integrated steel and mining businesses in the world, with a steel and pipe manufacturing facility in Regina, is the test partner and expects to save three million litres of water during this project.

Additional projects are currently being negotiated for Go Green funding in 2012. Over the past four years, the Saskatchewan government has committed $70 million CAD to the Go Green Fund for research and demonstration projects and incentive programs.

Sources: (in part) The Regina Leader-Post, Government of Saskatchewan Press Release

Monday, February 13, 2012

Joining Miller Thomson LLP as Partner in the Saskatoon office specializing in energy, mining and natural resources

Effective today, February 13, 2012 I have joined the partnership of Miller Thomson LLP. Miller Thomson enjoys a reputation as one of Canada’s most respected national business law firms with more than 470 lawyers in offices across Canada. Miller Thomson is currently the only national law firm with offices in Saskatchewan.

My updated contact information follows below:

Chad Eggerman
306.667.5616 (office)
306.380.7664 (mobile)
306.652.1586 (fax) (email) (web)

Miller Thomson LLP
Princeton Tower
123-2nd Avenue South
Suite 600
Sasktoon, SK
S7K 7E6


I have already been in contact with many of my clients and many of your files have already transferred and I look forward to continuing to work together with you.

I would be happy to hear from others who wish to take advantage of the considerable opportunities in Saskatchewan in the energy and natural resource sector and work together with one of the largest law firms in Canada providing comprehensive legal services to Canada’s energy and natural resource industries.

Our lawyers have developed an excellent reputation for their advice and counsel to clients in transactions involving energy and natural resource industries in Canada, the U.S. and Europe and providing high-quality representation in complex transactional, regulatory and litigation matters.

We are proud of our commitment to client service and our creative approach to problem-solving. Many of team members are recognized leaders in their field and active participants in resource sector industry organizations. Industries we serve include:

- Oil and Gas
- Acquisitions and Divestitures
- Power Generation
- Mining
- Agriculture and Food Production
- Forestry
- Environmental
- CleanTech
- Transportation

I look forward to the opportunity to work together with existing and new clients at this exciting time for energy and resource development in Saskatchewan.

Friday, February 10, 2012

SaskPower moving forward with new 230 kV and 138 kV transmission in windy Southwest Saskatchewan

This week SaskPower held a second round of open houses in Swift Current, Gull Lake and Shaunavon in windy Southwest Saskatchewan. SaskPower plans to upgrade and replace two transmission lines in the Southwest. One proposed project is a 230 kV transmission line to supply service to TransCanada Pipeline’s Keystone Piapot site and the second proposed project is for a 138 kV transmission line to supply service to the TCC Keystone Grassy Creek site southeast of Shaunavon.

The two new proposed lines would start at the Swift Current switching station, located about 8 km west of the city. The first portion of the lines would use double circuit structures and carry both the 138 kV and 230 kV conductors south and west of Swift Current. The two lines would then branch off from one another near the 152 MW Centennial wind farm near Gull Lake, with the 230 kV service continuing west to the Piapot site and the 138 kV service continuing south past Shaunavon to the Grassy Creek site.

Even though the project is linked with the Keystone project, which has yet to receive full approval for construction, SaskPower is selecting an appropriate route for the proposed lines now, and securing the necessary environmental approvals for these routes so that it is prepared to proceed when TransCanada is ready.

However, even if the pipeline does not proceed, SaskPower still plans to move forward with system reinforcements in the Southwest as part of its plan to renew its electricity system to meet the province’s growing needs.

Originally construction was to begin on the project in January 2013. The start date has been rescheduled for August 2013. The line will likely be complete by April 2014.

The transmission upgrade will help service the growing oil and gas sector but will also be an important upgrade to facilitate future wind farm developments which are likely to be located in the very windy Southwestern part of the province.

Source: (in part) Maple Creek News, Shaunovan Standard

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Current biomass and biogas projects under development in Saskatchewan

A. What are the type and scale of projects currently going forward in Saskatchewan?

There are currently 5 biomass and biogas projects under development in Saskatchewan which have been publicly announced. There are other projects under development for which details have not been publicly announced.

1. 35 MW biomass plant at Meadow Lake

Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) has signed a deal with SaskPower for a 35 MW biomass project and received a power purchase agreement (PPA). The new Meadow Lake-area biomass energy facility is scheduled to reach COD in 2014.

The MLTC has signed a deal with SaskPower with the intent to create a new biomass power generation facility in the area creating 300 jobs, 25 of which will be permanent jobs at the facility.

SaskPower Energy and Resources Minister Rob Norris explains the biomass centre will be a greener way to generate power for the company's grid. The biomass procedure will provide a use for the material cast off from the forestry industry.

“We know that as a growing province we are going to need more energy,” said Norris. “It helps us work with another partner ensuring that Saskatchewan has energy security and at the same time work closely with the first nations.”

The proposed facility is expected to create enough energy to power 36,000 homes for a full year.

2. Prince Albert Biomass cogeneration project at pulp mill

The CEO of SaskPower, the utility purchasing the excess generation and the general manager of P.A. Pulp, the generator, have announced that the two companies intend to have the biomass cogeneration power facility at a pulp mill in Northern Saskatchewan delivering electricity to the grid by late May 2012. Details have not yet been released regarding the generation capacity of the biomass cogeneration plant.

Dale Paterson of P.A. Pulp, said that when negotiating the contract for the recent sale of the pulp mill, part of the agreement was that the mill would provide “green energy” to SaskPower’s grid. “We’re working to generate green energy by (some time in) May,” said Paterson. “We started in September and we‘re about halfway there now. $5 million dollars has been spent on the project (so far) and another $5 million will be spent (in the coming months),” Paterson added. Paterson explained that the pulp mill’s biomass boiler and a turbine will be producing the power generated at the mill. About 21 people who were previously employed by the mill are being hired to provide maintenance on the cogeneration project, Paterson said. The power will be used to operate the mill itself and the excess power will be sold to SaskPower. As well, producing energy is integral to getting the mill ready to produce dissolved pulp in about a year and a half (the third quarter of 2013), as the energy produced on-site will provide much-needed heat for construction crews undertaking the work, explained the mill’s general manager. “We’re very happy to be working cooperatively with SaskPower to have this (project) operational (by May),” Paterson said.

In speaking with Robert Watson, the CEO of SaskPower, Mr. Watson reiterated that the corporation signed an agreement with Paper Excellence (the company that purchased the mill) regarding the co-generation project. “We’ve had meetings with them regarding the timeline and the technical issues involved,” stated Watson. In terms of the technical issues, Watson explained that the distribution of the power must be fine tuned—meaning, the excess energy generated by P.A. Pulp can’t just be pumped onto the grid heedlessly - rather, it needs to be “balanced” or specific areas would be affected and blackouts could occur. “We’re going to accommodate them when they are ready,” said Watson, in reference to the mill’s plan to be producing power by late May. “We have told our employees that we will be accepting power generated at (P.A. Pulp) onto our grid. We need the power, so we are willing to take it (once the mill is able to generate it), said Watson. Watson said that utilizing cogenerated power projects, such as the one with P.A. Pulp, is a cost-effective means of obtaining power. When asked if the Crown corporation had other cooperative projects underway in the province, Watson said there were a few, such as one at Potash Corp’s Cory Potash mine, east of Saskatoon.

It is expected that other mining companies planning to build mines in Saskatchewan such as BHP Billiton, Vale and K & S are also considering onsite cogeneration facilities at their mine sites.

3. Nipawin Biomass Cellulose Ethanol project overview

Developer: Nipawin Biomass Ethanol New Generation Co‐operative Ltd. (“Nipawin Biomass”)

Location: Town of Nipawin in North-East Saskatchewan, Canada

Type of facility: Biomass cellulose ethanol plant

Strategic Partners:

1. Saskatchewan Research Council (“SRC”)
2. Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc.
3. Shore Gold Inc.

Feedstock: The facility will process non‐merchantable waste timber and local farm fibre (flax/straw) into ethanol. The facility will require approximately 200,000 oven dried metric tonnes of cellulosic fibre per year, approximately two‐thirds of which would come from forest residue supplied by Shore Gold Inc. and the remainder from farmers in the local area. Shore Gold Inc., a mining company developing a nearby diamond mine have entered into an MOU with Nipawin Biomass to deliver the excess trees to the facility to be converted to ethanol. First Nations people and businesses will be involved in the clearing, removal and transportation of the waste wood.

Pre-feasibility Study complete? Yes.

Proposed capacity: 75 million litres/year

Estimated capital budget: $30-50 million CAD

Proprietary technology: Nipawin Biomass and SRC have jointly developed a proprietary conversion technology which will process synthesis gas from waste wood and farm fibre, such as flax fibre or straw, into ethanol and other alcohols.

Why this project is important: The facility will be among the first in the world to convert cellulose into ethanol. The catalytic conversion process developed by Nipawin Biomass and SRC is being integrated into California-based Fulcrum Energy Inc.’s proprietary process for converting municipal solid waste into ethanol. Fulcrum is on track to complete their first plant in 2013 in Nevada and will become one of the first companies to commercially produce ethanol from municipal solid waste.

Current status of project: Nipawin Biomass and SRC signed an agreement in fall 2011 to help complete the cellulosic ethanol plant. The agreement outlines the next series of development requirements for engineering support to advance the design for the Nipawin Biomass cellulose ethanol facility. SRC is currently undertaking this work and a report is expected in 2012.

Next steps: Once Fulcum completes their first plant in Nevada, Nipawin Biomass aims to follow closely behind Fulcrum and to be ready to begin construction of their facility in Saskatchewan within a few months of completion of the Nevada facility.

4. City of Saskatoon Landfill gas project

The City of Saskatoon, through its electric utility - Saskatoon Light & Power and the Environmental Services Branch, is developing a Landfill Gas Collection System at the City Landfill Site. Collected LFG will be piped to a Power Generation Facility adjacent to the landfill. The LFG will then be used to fuel internal combustion engines. The engines are coupled to electrical generators to produce power that will be fed to Saskatoon Light & Power's electrical grid. This project has the potential to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by over 90,000 tonnes per year (equivalent to removing over 16,000 vehicles from our roadways) and provide enough power for up to 2,600 homes. The capital cost of the project is $10 million and will be operational by 2012. The project is partially funded (50%) by the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan through the Canada-Saskatchewan Provincial-Territorial Base Funding. Detailed design of the facilities is underway. A competitive procurement process for construction of the project is currently underway. It is expected the facilities will reach COD in 2013.

5. City of Regina Landfill gas project

The City of Regina is currently collecting and flaring landfill gas and has plans to connect a generator in the near future.

B. Are there any projects in Saskatchewan that involve refining value added production like bioplastics and food additives?

I am not aware of such projects but I know of plastics manufacturers in Saskatchewan recycling plastic waste for reuse and new production.

C. Is the government of Saskatchewan doing anything to encourage development of the emerging biomass/biogas sector?

Yes, the government controlled monopoly utility SaskPower has committed to providing up to 25 MW of Power Purchase Agreements to biomass and biogas projects every year in the province through the Green Options Partners Program.

SaskPower has also committed to providing PPAs for First Nations biomass and biogas projects such as the 35 MW First Nations PPA in Meadow Lake and the cogen PPA in Prince Albert. It is anticipated that with the cooperation of the newly created First Nations Power Authority in Saskatchewan many new biomass First Nations projects will move forward in the near future supported by PPAs from SaskPower. The government of Saskatchewan has also publicly expressed support for First Nations energy projects.

D. Are there any notable collaborations between the oil and gas industry (or any other "traditional" industry) and the biomass industry?

Paper Excellence, a Dutch company is selling electricity to SaskPower generated from their biomass plan producing cellulose fiber for manufacturer of cloth and other clothing items.

Veresen Inc. owns and operates four, 5 MW waste heat power generation units located adjacent to compressor units on the Saskatchewan segment of the Alliance pipeline.