July 5-12, 2004

Revelstoke to proceed with local renewable energy project

A grant and loan combination of approximately $2.7 million from the Green Municipal Investment Fund (GMIF) will enable the city of Revelstoke, British Columbia to proceed with its Community Energy Project. Led by the Revelstoke Community Energy Corp (RCEC), the $5.3-million biomass energy project will use wood residue to heat Downie St Sawmill's dry kilns and a number of buildings on a Community Energy System (CES).

The GMIF investment is being supplemented by a $1.25-million capital investment from Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation, with the balance of funding coming from the Revelstoke Credit Union and the city's Electrical Utility Reserve Fund, as preferred shares. Revelstoke mayor Mark McKee pointed out that "the project will give rise to other opportunities for Downie and for extension of the CES to other parts of the City, especially as anticipated increases in the costs of other energy sources make the CES increasingly attractive." He noted that "twenty-year energy supply agreements have been signed with Downie and the school district, as well as a 20-year fuel supply agreement with Downie." McKee also added that "City Council is establishing a RCEC Board of Directors and has advertised a call for citizens interested in serving on the Board."

The plant will be built across from the dry kilns, on a 1/2-acre property being donated to the city's project by Downie St Sawmills. Once detailed drawings for the plant are received, a contract will be let for construction of the building, which will be ready to receive the boiler for installation in November 2004. The plant is due to be in operation as of the end of January but the relatively late start may move that to February.

The design of the facility will allow incremental boiler capacity to be added as needed. It is estimated that the project will result in a net 40 to 60% process efficiency improvement (in energy capture, transmission and delivery), primarily through the use of a state-of-the-art biomass combustor which will burn renewable and locally sourced fuel. Offsetting energy transmission/transport losses will contribute to the efficiency rating as well. In addition, the project is forecast to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 4,000 metric tonnes per year from propane offsets, with reductions also anticipated in nitrogen oxide (NOX), sulfuric oxide (SOX) and particulate matter (PM).

Paragon Project Management Services was the successful applicant to RCEC's call for proposals in early May and has been contracted to provide project construction management services. Paragon will soon be soliciting expressions of interest from local contractors for various aspects of the project. KMW Systems, in London, Ontario, has been selected to provide the boiler.

More information on the project is available from Geoff Battersby of the Revelstoke Community Energy Corp (RCEC), 250/837 5345.

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