Being energy efficient has proven an important part of being competitive for wood producer Western Forest Products, reports the Vancouver Sun.
Since the recent economic downturn, British Columbia-based Western Forest Products has positioned itself by reducing costs, a focus on maximizing margins and facilities investment. Energy efficiency was identified as a way to drive down costs, the paper reports.
BC Hydro‘s Power Smart efficiency program was “an integral part” of driving down those costs, according to the paper. In the first part of its partnership with BC Hydro Power Smart, the company looked for “low cost, no cost” energy saving opportunities, such as conducting an analysis of its billing patterns and charges and changing its energy use accordingly.
In the second and third years of its energy saving initiative, the company focused on small-scale retrofits. One such retrofit saw the company install smaller-scale air compressors where possible and found places that larger compressors could be turned off when not in use. The company has also utilized the BC Hydro Power Smart Industrial Energy Manager Program for over five years. So far WFP has saved over 20 GWh, the paper reports.
WFP is now putting its money into improving its facility efficiency. At the end of 2011, the company announced a $200 million commitment to capital upgrades including a $125 million earmark for its mills. It has so far completed a $38 million retrofit of its sawmill in Ladysmith and begun improvements to its Port Alberni.
In December, British Columbia utility FortisBC awarded a wood pulp mill – Quesnel River Pulp – with a $250,000 incentive to make energy efficiency improvements. The pulp mill, a division of West Fraser Timber, was the first participant in FortisBC’s Industrial Technology Retrofit Program, which offers monetary incentives to industrial natural gas customers for energy efficiency projects.