Cariboo Pulp and Paper Co.’s mill in Quesnel and Canfor Pulp's Northwood mill in Prince George are the latest pulp mills in B.C. to be earmarked for federal government money to reduce their environmental footprint. The Cariboo and Canfor mills have qualified for $41.5 million and $100.2 million respectively in funding from Natural Resources Canada's $1-billion Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program.
Conservative MPs were out in full force at four mills across Canada on Thursday in what some politics-watchers viewed as campaigning in anticipation that a federal election could be announced in the weeks or months ahead – following the return of MPs to Parliament Hill in February and the yet-to-be announced release of the 2011 budget.
The federal government has readily accessed the green transformation program’s funds since it was created in June 2009, as a means to address competitive disadvantages the mills face as a result of subsidy programs in the U.S.
As BIV reported in November, West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (TSX:WFT), received $37 million to upgrade its Hinton pulp mill. (See “Federal credits fund West Fraser mill upgrade” – BIV Daily Edition; November 15.)
The Hinton mill is one of at least eight facilities in B.C. to be earmarked for funds through the program.
An upgrade to Northwood Mill’s recovery boiler is expected to result in a 70% reduction in sulfur emissions at the plant as well as reductions in particulates.
The Cariboo mill is upgrading its existing power boiler, adding a new steam turbine and making improvements to its hog fuel handling system.
Through the upgrades, Cariboo will create 160 gigawatt hours of steam-generated clean electricity annually that will be sold to BC Hydro – enough to power more than 14,500 homes annually.
The upgrades will save the mill close to eight gigawatt hours of electricity annually and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 18,000 tonnes a year.
Through its Integrated Power Offer, BC Hydro is providing Cariboo Pulp and Paper with financial incentives to make the upgrades.
BC Hydro created the Integrated Power Offer in 2009 to help B.C.'s pulp and paper producers identify ways to secure funding through the green transformation program.