The company that owns the site of the former Woodfibre pulp mill is looking to capitalize on electricity being generated there.
Since 2008, Western Forest Products, a timber managing and wood producing company that owns the mill lands, has been seeking to sell excess energy generated by a turbine on Woodfibre Creek to B.C. Hydro. The pulp mill, which was built in the early 1900s, closed its doors in March 2006.
The turbine, which was installed in 1947, is running at a reduced rate, merely to keep the lights on at the site, said Rick Kormendy, the project’s site manager. By the end of this year, Western Forest Products hopes to sign a deal with the Crown corporation to buy the excess power, he said.
“We are looking at possibly expanding our hydro product,” Kormendy noted.
The company holds several water licences on the property. However, expansion beyond the Woodfibre Creek plant is not slated for the immediate future, Kormendy noted.
“We haven’t done the hydrology studies,” he said.
Western Forest Products has also talked to other organizations about other potential uses for the property itself.
In a 2009 report from the District of Squamish’s planning department to council, municipal officials estimated Woodfibre Creek could generate approximately seven megawatts of power. The report refers to a second project on Mill Creek, which could purportedly generate approximately 10 megawatts of power.
At the time, municipal staff highlighted the fire department’s obligation to provide services to the area.
“Given the remote location of the sites, this is of concern,” the report stated.