VANCOUVER, BC, March 18, 2016 (Local News) -Premier Christy Clark’s vow to push work at the $9-billion Site C dam “past the point of no return” may be music to the ears of some construction contractors, but not to all pulp and paper firms.
In a great irony, as the costs soar into the billions to build infrastructure to supply “clean” electricity to natural gas companies and a hoped-for liquefied natural gas industry, the province and B.C. Hydro are imposing costs that are pushing existing industries to boost their reliance on fossil fuels. One pulp mill near Quesnel is a case in point. To defray rapidly rising hydro costs, the company plans to spend millions of dollars to produce its own power using natural gas.
Well before logging contractors began levelling old-growth forest beside the Peace River last summer in preparation for building Site C, four pulp company executives warned Victoria that mounting hydro costs threatened the economic viability of their operations. The companies operate mills that grind wood into pulp mechanically, a very energy-intensive form of pulping compared to mills that rely more on chemicals to do the job.
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