NSP moves forward with 60 MW CHP plant

By Anna Austin | January 12, 2012

Nova Scotia Power has continued to move forward with a $200 million biomass cogeneration project at a paper mill in Cape Brenton, Nova Scotia, Canada, despite the mill’s September closure over financial difficulties.

Originally partnered for the project with NewPage Port Hawkesbury Corp., Nova Scotia Power has since taken over construction of the 60 MW plant. Per contractual agreements, NewPage was to build and operate the facility, but the reins would be handed to NSP in the event of the mill’s closure.

NSP spokeswoman Neera Ritcey said British Columbia, Canada-based Stern Partners Inc. could be the new mill operator, but the companies were still in the process of determining how the cogeneration plant would be operated, and who would do it. “It’s very important to us, as it’s part of our renewable energy standard (RES) compliance plan,” Ritcey said. 

Nova Scotia’s RES, which was enacted in 2007 and revised in 2010, requires electric utilities to draw 25 percent of on their power from renewable sources by 2015. Ritcey said the biomass cogeneration plant could provide 3 percent of the province’s electricity needs.

Despite the mill closure and resistance from environmentalists regarding the annual feedstock requirement of 200,000 metric tons (220,000 tons) of waste wood, the plant is on schedule to be operating in 2013. “But there are still many things that need to be determined in terms of various functions of the mill and biomass plant, and these conversations are happening now,” Ritcey said.

In a scenario in which the mill remains idle, the cogeneration plant has the ability to operate as a stand-alone facility, she added.