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Province looking at plant to put wood up in smoke  

P.E.I.’s waste wood may soon be literally going up in smoke – creating jobs and power as part of a 25-megawatt biomass generating plant proposed for construction in Borden-Carleton.

Energy Minister Jamie Ballem confirmed Thursday the province has been in talks with New Phase Power, an Alberta company that has expressed interest in a plant that would generate power by burning wood and bark left over from selective harvesting, clearcuts and wood processing already taking place.

“We’re not talking about increasing the wood harvest, we’re talking about using materials that are now going to waste,” Ballem said.

“This would be using wood that’s now being left to rot, it would create jobs here, provide base-load power and it would be adding generation from a renewable resource,” the minister said.

Ballem said the developers have talked about taking advantage of the Borden location because of its deepwater port.

There has been speculation New Phase may take over the former Strait Crossing fabrication yard that has been largely unused for a decade since the end of construction of the Confederation Bridge, but the ownership of the property remains up in the air.

The minister said New Phase Power may want to use the Port Borden facilities as a convenient place to land new fuel for the wood-burning plant.

Maritime Electric spokeswoman Kim Griffin said the province’s power company has been talking to New Phase and is willing to do business if the price is right.

“At this point we’re still in discussions,” she said.

“We’re open to buying power if it benefits our customers and we’re always interested in renewables as well.”

Ballem said a wood-burning power station would be a good supply of steady, renewable power that could act as a support for the intermittent power supply that will be generated by the province’s growing wind-generation industry.

“Right now there are a lot of things in the air,” he said. “When one or two of them are confirmed the rest will fall into place pretty quickly.’

By Ron Ryder
The Guardian


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