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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Child falls down Bridal Veil Falls near Chilliwack, crews on scene

An 11-year-old boy fell over the falls about 25 to 30 feet and has suffered a head injury

LETTER: An unforgettable birthday

Grace Storteboom of Agassiz thanks everyone for an amazing birthday

Seabird Island community to recieve $2.1 million for community centre

Provincial, federal funding will contribute to local undertaking

Popular retired UFV therapy dog passes away

Mac the Therapy Dog consoled countless students and staff, as well as wildfire victims

Imagination Library Fraser Valley celebrating Christmas in July

Dolly Parton early literacy intiative looking for financial support to help with waitlist

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Four-vehicle collision snarls eastbound highway traffic in Fraser Valley

Collision west of Lickman Road on Highway 1 includes three vehicles plus motorcycle

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read