Grand Opening Celebration of OPG Atikokan Biomass-Fuelled Generating Station
Atikokan Generating Station (GS) is being converted to use biomass as
fuel. When the conversion is complete, the station will be the largest
100 per cent capacity biomass-fuelled power plant in North America. With
more than 200 construction workers on the project (at peak), the
project is progressing on schedule and on time for placing the station
in-service in this year – 2014.
The Atikokan biomass conversion project includes plant modifications,
and the construction of a fuel storage and handling system to repower
the plant from coal to biomass fuel. Biomass will be the only fuel used
at Atikokan GS.
Biomass wood pellets are a sustainable fuel recognized as beneficial
to climate change mitigation, as identified in the Biomass
Sustainability Analysis Report by the Pembina Institute.
Pembina Institute: Biomass Sustainability Analysis
OPG commissioned the Pembina Institute to conduct a sustainability
analysis to determine if biomass sourced from Ontario forests meets the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change definition of
renewable; to better understand the greenhouse gas reduction benefits of
biomass; and to estimate the socio-economic benefits of electricity
production from biomass. The analysis uses detailed forest carbon and
socio-economic modelling to examine a scenario using two million tonnes
of wood pellets per year from Ontario’s Crown forests at four OPG coal
The Pembina Institute has developed an easy-to-read Biomass
Sustainability Analysis Summary Report, a 14-page summary of the full
Biomass Sustainability Analysis.
OPG chose wood-pellet biomass as fuel because the energy content is
very similar to the lignite coal that Atikokan GS was designed to burn,
so much of the existing equipment could be adapted for biomass. OPG
wood-pellet suppliers were selected through a competitive process
requiring the wood-fibre to be sourced from sustainably managed forests.
Electricity produced at Atikokan GS using biomass will provide
back-up for OPG’s hydroelectric generation, and for intermittent
renewable power such as solar and wind as needed. In addition to
stimulating Ontario’s forestry sector, Atikokan GS will help ensure
electricity supply for future industrial and employment growth in
Annual fuel consumption and electricity production will depend on the
power purchase agreement from the Ontario Power Authority and on
electricity demand. Once operating on biomass fuel, Atikokan GS will
retain the ability to produce approximately 200 MW at full capacity. OPG
supports research into the sustainability and climate change benefits
of biomass for electricity production in Ontario.
The project complies with all provincial standards and regulations.