Interfor’s co-gen plan unsuccessful

Interfor's application for a cogeneration plant at the Grand Forks mill was not accepted by B.C. Hydro.

International Forest Products Ltd. (Interfor)  will not be getting a cogeneration plant, as its bid to BC Hydro’s Clean Power Call was unsuccessful.

BC Hydro made their decision last week.

“I’m disappointed in the outcome but we’ll continue to move forward from here and look at bio-energy products that make sense,” said

Andrew Horahan, Interfor’s regional manager for the Kootenays.

Horahan said that this marks the end of the co-gen project.

“We don’t have any options at this point,” he said. “We’ll continue to look at projects for biomass, whether it be co-generation to reduce natural gas consumption for our site or the production of electricity.”

He said it puts Interfor right back to where it started in terms of getting a new power plant.

“It would have been beneficial to have the ability to answer the call to BC Hydro and build a power plant,” he said.

“It was our goal and desire but B.C. Hydro didn’t accept the application.”

Horahan said Interfor is now hoping to sit down and meet with Hydro soon to fully understand its decision. Hydro has awarded four companies out of the seven it shortlisted.

He said Interfor would continue to look at capital projects for Grand Forks.

“We’re actively looking at improving the sawmill through our engineering firm and we hope to have a decision later this year on what direction we’ll be going,” he said.

Recently Interfor shut down the large mill, which is used to process logs with a diameter of 35.56 cm (14 inches) and above.

“There was a temporary shutdown of what we call the large mill. Most of our logs can efficiently go through what we call the small mill,” he said. “We’re trying to run the business without the large mill.”

Horahan said its primary log is a small log – about 33 cm (13 inches) and below.

Interfor is hoping the move will make the mill more efficient and it will evaluate how it does without the large mill in the future.

He said the temporary closure affects 10 workers.

Mayor Brian Taylor said that the project could have been good, economically, for the city.

“I’m disappointed that we’re not having that investment,” Taylor said.

“I mean it avoids us having to deal with the water issue but still we were welcoming the possibility of a co-gen plant for a number of reasons.”

B.C. Hydro released the final project for the Clean Power Call on Aug. 3.