Upgrade for Island waste-to-energy system aims to curb oil consumption, increase energy production

The federal government is contributing $3.5 million to upgrade and expand a 35-year-old waste-to-energy system in Charlottetown owned by Enwave Energy Corporation.

'Take advantage of the municipal waste that is still going to landfill and generate thermal energy from that'

The Enwave Energy facility in Charlottetown will get upgrades aimed at reducing carbon emissions. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)

The federal government is contributing $3.5 million to upgrade and expand a 35-year-old waste-to-energy system in Charlottetown owned by Enwave Energy Corporation. 

The company operates the system, which provides 125 buildings, such as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, with thermal energy from burned waste.

The upgrade will include a larger furnace, the addition of a heat recovery boiler and air pollution controls.

The facility has been incinerating black bin waste from Kings and Queens counties to produce energy and with the expansion, black bin waste from Prince County will also be sent to there.

"It will divert an additional 23,000 tonnes of organic waste from the regional landfill, reduce landfill methane emissions, increase annual energy production and reduce fuel oil consumption for the Charlottetown District Energy System," said Charlottetown MP Sean Casey on Monday.

'Major upgrade'

The funding comes from the low carbon economy fund, which invests in projects that reduce carbon pollution, save money and create jobs.

"This plant is 35 years old and 35 years ago it was seen as ahead of its time and visionary, and probably now not so much," Casey said. "This is a major upgrade. Right now, in here, what is being burned is household waste, wood biomass and petroleum."

With the upgrades, the facility will reduce the amount of burned petroleum and increase burning of household waste, Casey said.

Gerry Moore, CEO of Island Waste Management Corporation, says the upgrades to the facility will extend the lifespan of the Island’s only landfill. (Tim Hamming/CBC)

Gerry Moore, CEO of Island Waste Management Corporation, said all of the black cart residential waste and a lot of commercial waste is diverted to the facility in Charlottetown.

"This facility basically was at capacity, this announcement here today is great news because what we can see from Island Waste Management's perspective is, burnable waste, or waste that can be used at an expanded facility like this will be transported from the western part of the Island into the capital region."

That will increase the lifespan of the landfill in Wellington, P.E.I., Moore said.

Reducing oil consumption

The company has been looking at ways to improve the system and reduce oil consumption, said Dave Godkin, general manager for Enwave in P.E.I.

"One of those opportunities is to take advantage of the municipal waste that is still going to landfill and generate thermal energy from that, displace more oil and continue to supply the district energy system."

At the moment 25,000 tonnes in Island waste is being burned, the company hopes the upgrades will help double that, Godkin said.

"Oil makes up probably a little over 20 per cent, we would like to take that down to five per cent."

Dave Godkin, general manager for Enwave in P.E.I., says the cost of upgrading the system will be around $37 million. (Tim Hamming/CBC)

Through the life of the project it could, on average, reduce CO2 emissions by 75,000 tonnes a year, Godkin said.

"We are looking at somewhere in the order of $37 million dollars in terms of cost of the project, so it is pretty significant project."

Work on the expansion is expected to begin next year with the aim of having it complete by 2022.

The rest of the money needed for the project will come from Enwave, Godkin said.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Kerry Campbell


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