St. Marys Paper signs PPA for CHP plant

By Lisa Gibson | November 30, 2010

St. Marys Paper Corp. has signed a 10-year power purchase agreement with the Ontario Power Authority for electricity produced at its proposed biomass combined-heat-and-power plant. The plant will be constructed adjacent to St. Marys’ existing paper mill in southeastern Ontario’s Sault Ste. Marie.

St. Marys Renewable Energy Corp. will operate the 30-megawatt facility, first powering the mill’s industrial processes, with the remainder sold to the grid. The company has negotiated a supply of about 400,000 metric tons of woody biomass such as bark and waste wood from the Algoma and North Shore Crown Forests. Construction on the $175 million plant is expected to begin in 2011, with commercial operation by early 2014, according to St. Marys Renewable Energy Corp. The project will create more than 500 jobs in the area including construction, operation and biomass supply positions.

St. Marys existing paper facility is a 220,000 metric ton-per-year pulp and supercalandered paper mill (supercalendered paper is typically used for magazines, catalogs and directories). The mill has been shut down, but is in the process of restarting paper production operations, with the help of government funds. St. Mary’s Renewable Energy Corp. was formed in 2007 to develop biomass cogeneration capacity in conjunction with the operations of St. Marys Paper Corp.

The bubbling fluidized boilers at the proposed Sault Ste. Marie plant are the first of their kind in Ontario and will meet or exceed new requirements of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, due to take effect in 2013. The new boilers will allow for the decommissioning of existing boilers at the mill, lowering overall emissions, according to the Ontario Power Authority.

“The efforts expended to this point have been enormous,” said CEO Dennis of St. Marys Paper Corp. “St. Marys is now in a position to step into the 21st century while looking confidently toward the future. We plan to finalize the funding and begin construction in 2011. Everyone involved in St. Mary’s is excited to be part of the province’s renewable energy initiatives."