Wood Pellet Boiler System Installations

February 18, 2013
Ministers' Statements and Speeches

(February 18, 2013) - Mr. Speaker, in support of this Government’s vision of an environmentally sustainable and prosperous Northwest Territories, the Department of Public Works and Services recently installed four more biomass heating systems in Fort Providence, Yellowknife, Behchoko and Fort Simpson.

In November, Public Works and Services installed a new wood pellet boiler at the Combined Services Building at the Yellowknife Airport. This is the fifth  such system the Department has installed in Yellowknife, and it is expected to save the GNWT approximately 256,000 litres of fuel oil a year for an estimated annual savings of $130,000.

Elizabeth Mackenzie Elementary School in Behchoko and Deh Gah School in Fort Providence are also benefitting from this technology. Together the wood pellet boilers installed at these schools will eliminate the need for over 170,000 litres of fuel oil a year, and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 474 tonnes annually. The savings achieved by using biomass systems at these schools is expected to surpass $117,000 annually.

Earlier this year, Fort Simpson’s Central Heating System started to operate full time on a new wood pellet boiler.  This system links the community recreation complex, Bompass Elementary School and Thomas Simpson School to one boiler system. It will be able to accommodate expansion tie-ins to help heat other nearby buildings like the GNWT Office Building over time. Once fully operational, the system has the ability to displace up to 356,000 litres of fuel oil a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 971 tonnes per year.

Like the Fort Simpson system, the wood pellet boiler installation at Elizabeth Mackenzie School in Behchoko was also designed to serve multiple buildings. This installation will be able to provide heat to the community’s sports complex and a future NWT Housing Corporation project.

Mr. Speaker, these projects mark an important development in our approach to biomass technology. By designing systems that can serve multiple buildings, our government is better positioned to maximize our investment in energy efficient technologies like biomass.

Mr. Speaker, these four newest wood pellet boilers are expected to save over $400,000 annually, savings that will grow should they be expanded. There are currently 20 government buildings benefitting from this technology, including our very own Legislative Assembly Building, which has contributed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 25,000 tonnes since 2007-08, saving the GNWT an estimated $3.9 Million. This is effective, efficient use of public infrastructure that maximizes value while being environmentally sustainable.

Next, biomass projects are planned for the new health centres in Fort Providence and Hay River, the new office building in Yellowknife, and five buildings in Norman Wells: the new health centre, the long term care facility, Mackenzie Mountain School, the airport terminal and the combined services building.

The benefits of investing in biomass and other alternative energy technologies continue to speak for themselves, and I look forward to providing Members with updates on these projects as they progress. 

Thank you.