North America's Largest 100% Biomass-Fueled Power Plant Opens in Ontario, Canada
September 11, 2014
Ontario, Canada, is now home to North America's largest power plant fueled completely by biomass. The Atikokan Generating Station conversion is complete and the station is now generating electricity and helping meet local power needs in northwestern Ontario.
Atikokan Generating Station, which employs 70 full-time workers, burned its last coal two years ago on Sept. 11, 2012. Conversion of the station began in mid-2012 and included construction of two silos and boiler modifications to accommodate the biomass. The project employed more than 200 highly skilled trades people and technical workers.
A coal-free energy mix will lead to a significant reduction in harmful emissions, cleaner air and a healthier environment.
The biomass used to fuel Atikokan Generating Station is being harvested and processed in Ontario. Domestic suppliers have leveraged this opportunity to secure contracts to provide pellets to international buyers.
"A new era has dawned in Ontario; one where the air will be cleaner and the multiple costs of coal-fired generation have become a distant memory. Atikokan's successful conversion to biomass will put Ontario on the world map as a leader in using this sustainable fuel source for electricity production."
— Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy
"Close to 100 per cent of the electricity Ontario Power Generation produces is from sources that are virtually free of climate change- or smog-causing emissions. Atikokan Generating Station is a unique addition to our clean energy portfolio as it provides dispatchable renewable energy that can be used when the power system needs it,"
— Tom Mitchell, President and CEO, Ontario Power Generation
*Biomass is a sustainable fuel recognized across the world as a contributor to greenhouse gas reductions.
*Atikokan Generating Station will provide renewable peaking power, and can be turned on when electricity demands are highest.
*Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has contracts in place with two companies in northwestern Ontario to supply the wood pellets. Rentech Inc. and Resolute Forest Products Canada will each supply 45,000 tons of wood pellets annually.
*The closure of Ontario's coal plants comes as the province moves toward implementing a smarter electricity grid, increasing efficiencies within the electricity system, introducing strong conservation efforts and committing to cleaner energy sources.
*Replacing coal-fired electricity generation is the single largest climate change initiative being undertaken in North America and, when fully eliminated, will be equivalent to taking up to seven million cars off the road.
m: Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure - Ontario, Canada
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