Metro garbage burner loses key energy customer

Region's incinerator to switch to selling just electricity

Metro Vancouver’s garbage incinerator in south Burnaby is being forced to retool because it can no longer sell steam to an adjacent industrial plant.

The Norampac linerboard mill – which was the only buyer of steam from the waste-to-energy plant – will close down in December, parent firm Cascades Inc. announced.

That means Metro must upgrade the incinerator at a cost of $4.2 million to turn all of the steam it generates into electricity for sale to the power grid, Metro utility planning manager Toivo Allas said.

The incinerator burns 285,000 tonnes of garbage per year and about a third of the steam produced was piped next door to Norampac.

Selling steam was more lucrative than selling electricity, so the conversion will cut into Metro’s revenue.

The region earned $11 million from the waste-to-energy plant last year and senior engineers say that will drop to about $7 million next year because of the loss of steam sales.

They expect revenue will rebound, but how much depends on Metro securing a higher electricity rate from BC Hydro when the power sales contract is renegotiated in 2013.

Metro hopes most of the electricity output from the incinerator will be counted as green energy and fetch a higher price under B.C.’s Clean Energy Act.

Right now about 63 per cent of the electricity would qualify because it is derived from organic and other non-fossil fuel sources.

The region has also considered building a pipeline to carry hot water eight kilometres west to heat a huge housing development being built in southeast Vancouver.

The challenges selling steam may provide lessons for Metro as it plans to build new waste-to-energy plants to handle an extra 500,000 tonnes of garbage that the region will stop sending to the Cache Creek landfill.

Officials hope any new plant or plants can be located where they can tie into a district energy system serving a cluster of buildings or industries, rather than be tied to a single customer.

The extra revenue versus just generating electricity could save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the life of the plant, Metro has estimated.

Just Posted

Widespread concerns spur UFV to halt international enrolment growth

New target hopes to limit international students to 20% of all enrolment to give time to ‘catch up’

Kent cuts ribbon on Hammersley Pump Station

The new pumps replace the 50-year-old drainage system from before

What can $4 million get you in real estate in Chilliwack vs. other places in B.C.?

A 78-acre property with a large house – or you could get a condo in Vancouver or an estate mansion in 100 Mile House

UFV & other B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

VIDEO: Harrison lights up for the holidays

The second annual Lights by the Lake kicked off Saturday, Nov. 23

Owners of hotels on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside fight $1 expropriation in court

Vancouver City Council voted to expropriate the properties for $1 each in November

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Braille signs coming to TransLink bus stops in 2020

Transit authority says it’s the first to do so in Canada and the United States

CUPE issues 72-hour strike notice for SkyTrain

Local 7000 release states ‘parties are still bargaining’, union will have job action plan by Saturday

Abbotsford man was ‘unintended victim’ of 2018 fatal shooting, police say

Jagvir Malhi, 19, was gunned down while on his way to university

Most Read