Power Wood Canada Corp. plans to build a 41.5 megawatt, biomass-fuelled power plant at La Crete, in north-central Alberta. The plant will require extensive fuel handling equipment to ensure proper delivery of the biomass to the boiler. The plant will reduce emissions by offsetting fossil fuel power generation, using forest harvest waste as fuel and taking waste streams from sawmills that would otherwise be landfilled. This project will be the first of a fleet of four on Alberta’s energy grid.

It may seem counterintuitive to generate electricity by burning wood rather than clean-burning natural gas. From an accounting perspective though, the project will be GHG-neutral. The reason is that biomass absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it grows. When it burns, it gives carbon dioxide back. For this to work, biomass has to be continually growing – new trees, new plants, new growth of every kind.

The facility plans to use biomass to heat a high-efficiency boiler will enable its electricity generation facility to be GHG neutral. The biomass combustion technologies available today are highly sophisticated with control systems that minimize contaminants and air emissions. ERA funded this project to minimize the variability of biomass delivered to the boiler, ensuring that the power plant gets consistent energy out of its biomass fuel and that the GHG benefits are realized.