The Government of B.C has announced a new Power Smart program for thermal mechanical pulp producers to help reduce production electricity costs at the West Fraser Quesnel River Mill. This incentive program will provide $16 million to the facility to invest in energy-efficient equipment and plant upgrades over the next three years.

“This initiative will help West Fraser upgrade their facility to the 21st century, keeping our forestry sector alive, and keep workers at the mill employed,” said Coralee Oakes, MLA for Cariboo North. “Today’s announcement by our government and BC Hydro will help our local economy and the environment, and give us a competitive edge in the forestry sector going forward.”

The Thermal-Mechanical Pulp Program is giving pulp and paper producers a total amount of $100 million in incentives over a three year period to upgrade their equipment to more energy efficient model. This will save the pulp producers approximately $17.5 million in annual electricity costs, and reduce electricity consumption 300 gigawatt hours of electricity per year saving BC Hydro ratepayers up to $265 million.

The demand for electricity in British Columbia is expected to grow by 40% over the next 20 years. Investing in energy efficiency is a key component of BC Hydro’s Integrated Resource Plan target to meet 78% of this new demand through conservation, which is more cost-effective than acquiring new sources of power generation.

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