First Nations Power Authority no longer pursuing $80M plant at GTH

A proposed power plant which would generate power by burning railway ties is off the table for now, according to the head of the First Nations Power Authority.

Plant would generate electricity through burning chemical soaked railway ties

Guy Lonechild, CEO of the First Nations Power Authority, said the focus was shifted to flare gas and solar power when he entered the organization in January. (CBC)

A proposed power plant which would generate electricity by burning railway ties is off the table for now, according to the head of the First Nations Power Authority. 

Instead, the focus has shifted to flare gas and solar power at the direction of new CEO, Guy Lonechild.

"We've, I think, had a second thought about that project," Lonechild said.

The biomass power plant proposed location was in the GTH on the western edge of Regina.

"If there's interest in the project, we wouldn't say no to future involvement it in, just that it's not the priority at this time," he added.

In August, the First Nations Power Authority (FNPA) signalled its intentions to build an $80-million biomass power plant at the GTH, through a public notice in the newspaper announcing an open house.

The facility would see around 350,000 chemical soaked railway ties burned each year, according to a source familiar with the project.

When Lonechild was brought on as CEO in January, he said he was given the authority and mandate by the FNPA's board to focus on flare and solar.

"As a new leader, it's important that we do the work and the projects that we have on the books," Lonechild said. 

He said the plant was still very much in the early stages of planning and exploration.

A spokesperson for the GTH declined to comment on the FNPA's decision but did offer some comment. 

"We believe the project has merit and are happy to work with FNPA on this or any other initiative where the GTH's access to rail and truck infrastructure would be beneficial," the spokesperson said in an email.

With files from Stephanie Taylor