Attention all suppliers: Ontario Power Generation needs your wood pellets!

Hamilton%2C%20Tyler45X64.jpgPosted by Tyler Hamilton
Ontario Power Generation has issued a call to potential suppliers of wood pellets to the Atikokan coal plant, which the utility plans to beginning converting to 100 per cent biomass burn in 2012. OPG requests that proponents provide pricing for a minimum volume that is between 22,500 and 30,000 tonnes (a year) and pricing for the entire 90,000 tonnes (a year) requirement,” according to the company’s ” request for indicative prices.”
In other words, it expects it will need 90,000 tonnes annually but wants to break this down into three our four chunks so it can have several suppliers. The final stage of conversion will begin in June 2012 and commissioning of the new equipment will likely start in August. OPG expects full-on commercial operation will happen by December. “The wood fuel pellet supply being considered under this RFIP will have a local content requirement such that the source of the wood fibre and the location of the production facilities that will produce the wood pellets shall be within Ontario,” according to the company. “OPG will require that the wood-based fuel pellets be accompanied by Chain of Custody Certification ensuring that the wood pellets supplied to OPG are manufactured from wood fibre sourced from well managed forests.”
In the Great Lakes St. Lawrence forest region of Ontario it’s estimated that there is about 1.475 million oven dry metric tons of wood fibre available for sustainable harvesting each year, or about 1.25 million if we take into account that some of the biomass will be used as fuel to dry the biofibre. So what OPG is requesting in this initial round is roughly 6 per cent of what’s available — and let’s not forget that pellets made of grass crops are also a potential source of fuel. Let’s keep in mind these converted coal plants will be used as peakers when using biomass fuel. This means there is plenty of biomass available for several units being targeted for conversion at the massive Nanticoke coal plant.
What we’re witnessing here is the beginning of the creation of an entirely new industry in Ontario developed around the need to economically harvest, pelletize and transport biomass fuel pellets to support the province’s coal phaseout strategy. This will create many jobs in parts of the province where jobs are needed most, and will establish a made-in-Ontario biomass fuel supply chain that can support the move to more distributed forms of biomass energy generation. There is plenty of opportunity here for entrepreneurs looking to play a role

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