SURREY, B.C.—BC Hydro has launched a new program to cut electricity costs for pulp and paper producers operating in British Columbia.
Announced by BC Hydro president and CEO Jessica McDonald and B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett, the Power Smart program will introduce incentives ranging from $5 million to $25 million for projects that reduce power consumption at thermo-mechanical pulp and paper facilities.
Similar to other industrial incentive programs run by BC Hydro, the Power Smart program will cover as much as 75 per cent of the cost of conservation projects undertaken by pulp and paper producers in the province.
The program is expected to reduce electricity consumption in the province by 300 gigawatt hours and save pulp and paper producers a combined $17.5 million in annual power costs.
“Thanks to the investments made in our hydroelectric system decades ago, our industrial customers enjoy among the lowest rates in North America. However, as we renew and reinvest in our system to ensure safe, reliable power in B.C., I’m pleased that we are able to offer a new opportunity for our industrial customers to save electricity and reduce their operating costs,” BC Hydro’s McDonald said in a statement.
Currently, there are seven thermo-mechanical pulp and paper operations in B.C.
Electricity costs account for as much as 30 per cent of operating budgets in the pulp and paper industry in B.C. and represent 10 per cent of BC Hydro’s annual power sales, according to the utility.
Demand for electricity in B.C. is expected to grow by 40 per cent over the next 20 years.