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Northland secures public support, co-generation plant near complete.

Northland secures public support, co-generation plant near complete

Now in the final stages of development, Northland Power's 105-megawatt cogeneration plant in Kirkland Lake will be fully operational in February, said company representative Fred Brown.

With the completion of the wood combustion phase, expected sometime later this month, Brown reported that only some minor construction will be necessary.

According to the Ministry of Energy, the power plant is expected to generate more than 85 megawatts from natural gas and 15.6 megawatts from wood waste.

Construction of the plant has provided employment for approximately 200-person years of employment. Upon completion, the plant will require about 30 fulltime operators.

The plant is expected to generate $3 million annually for the local economy.

In addition to the financial injection, the cogeneration facility will reduce wood waste, which the ministry claims pollutes the soil and water supplies.

The wood-waste heat produced at the plant will be utilized by the Kirkland Lake sewage treatment plant.

In a prior interview with Northern Ontario Business, ministry spokesman Peter Carrie explained that the heat will be used to help evaporate the waste and reduce sewage.

The electricity produced by the plant will also be directed into the Ontario Hydro power grid.

Northland Power had been given a $3.9-million grant under the ministry's energy from waste capital assistance program. The funds were given to offset the $26.1-million cost of the woodfire portion of cogeneration plant.

PUBLIC CONCERNS

Although it will meet its projected spring start-up date, the $67-million energy project at the south end of Main Street has not been without its share of problems.

Following two meetings with Kirkland Lake council in October and a public forum held with town residents, Brown said the company managed to address the public's concerns.

"The meetings were held to update everyone on the status of the operation and, in specific,. to address concerns relating to the environment and the (environmental control) systems," said Brown.

Public concerns included carbon monoxide emissions and phosphate levels in Murdoch Creek.

Brown insisted that the environmental control systems designed for the plant are some of the most stringent and advanced in existence.

"We have to adhere to a very strict set of standards," said Brown.

Elaborating on the controls implemented at the site, Brown hinted that innovative methods were utilized to reduce carbon monoxide emissions. He said the Kirkland Lake operation is co-operating with the Ministry of the Environment in an effort to establish new controls for emissions.

Currently, there are no guidelines in place requiring point-of-emission testing to be done, said Brown.

"We are acting as the guinea pigs for the introduction of these guidelines. There are strict guidelines that we have to adhere to," he said.

SCRUBBERS

Brown reported that the most successful cogeneration plants have managed only to reduce emission levels of 250 milligrams of carbon monoxide per cubic metre while Northland's operation in Kirkland Lake has reduced its emissions to 90 milligrams by utilizing scrubbers within the exhaust system.

Brown also indicated that an innovative idea by a Northland Power employee may actually reduce the amount of phosphates already present in nearby Murdoch Creek.

Brown said the employee found a way to remove as much as a pound of existing phosphates from the water per day while the company was attempting to find ways of complying with a no-discharge order from the environment ministry.

Plant manager Fred Hnatuk explained that the reduction process uses alkalies to capture the phosphates.

PHOTO : The Parsons generator pictured here will channel electricity back into the Ontario Hydro electric grid.

DOUGLAS MCDOUGALL Staff Writer
COPYRIGHT 1991 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Northland Power
Author:McDougall, Douglas
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:company profile
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Words:599
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