Pinnacle Renewable Energy building Alberta pellet plant

By Anna Simet | May 04, 2017

Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. will soon build its first wood pellet plant outside of British Columbia.

Parkland County officials announced on May 3 that the company will build a new, $85 million pellet plant near Entwistle in central Alberta. The new facility will bring Pinnacle’s total number of pellet plants to eight, and add 400,000 metric tons to its existing capacity of more than 1.5 million metric tons.

All of Pinnacle’s plants, located in Houston, Burns Lake, Meadowbank, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Armstrong and Lavington, B.C., run 24-7, according to the company. Pinnacle also owns and operates the Westview port in Prince Rupert, B.C., the first dedicated wood pellet terminal in the world capable of handling Panamax vessels.

Most of Pinnacle’s output are pellets that are exported to overseas markets, but the company also manufacturers a range of other products, including softwood pellet fuel for home heating, animal bedding and natural sorbent.

"We are thrilled to welcome Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. to Parkland County and the Hamlet of Entwistle," said Entwistle Mayor Rod Shaigec. "The positive economic impact this investment will have on our community is tremendous. We look forward to a long-term relationship with Pinnacle."

 “Parkland County is excited to work with Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. on its expansion into Alberta,” said Mike Heck, chief administrative officer of Parkland County.  “With the recent launch of our Major Business Attraction Program, welcoming Pinnacle to the Entwistle community shows the opportunities and success this program can create for our communities.”

The most recent Pinnacle plant to come online was the Lavington plant, built about a year and a half ago, according to CEO Rob McCurdy. He said that as the company expanded throughout B.C., it saw opportunity in Alberta. "We've got a strong bench strength of talent, we had the team for building the plant, and as we learned more about the fiber basket, it all came together," he said. "We’re quite happy to be in Alberta—it’s a pretty natural growth for our company."

McCurdy said dirt and heavy equipment work began at the site on May 1. "We're underway, and we anticipate to have most of the equipment assembled and start commissioning by the end of the year, with a phased commissioning through the first quarter of next year," he said.

Once in production, the plant will create approximately 70 full-time positions in the community of roughly 30,000 people.