New Industry-Indigenous Partnership, BioNorth Energy, Revives Fort St. James Green Energy Project in Northern British Columbia
October 14, 2021 at 11:35 AM EDT
BioNorth Energy plans to take over the green energy project, recommission the facility, and begin generating clean power in 2022
Prince George, British Columbia--(Newsfile Corp. - October 14, 2021) - BioNorth Energy Limited Partnership (BioNorth Energy) is pleased to announce it has signed a purchase agreement to acquire all of the Fort St. James Green Energy Project located in Northern British Columbia. BioNorth Energy is a joint-venture partnership between the Arrow Group of Companies (Arrow), the Nak'azdli Development Corporation (NDC, the economic development arm of Nak'azdli Whut'en), and low-carbon infrastructure developer, Nexus Program Management Group, LLC (Nexus PMG). BioNorth Energy expects the asset acquisition to complete in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The primary asset is a 40-megawatt biomass power generation facility which began commercial operations in late 2017, under a 30-year electricity purchase agreement (EPA) with BC Hydro. The facility, which had 38 direct employees, ceased operations in June 2021 with over 26 years remaining on the EPA.
"We want to get this project back up and running," comments Tim Bell, BioNorth Energy's President. "We believe we have a solid strategy to address the challenges faced by the previous owners and are ready to invest the effort and resources necessary to recommission the facility and create a flagship clean power generation operation. People need jobs; northern communities need economic development; we have a customer for the power; and British Columbians want and need clean energy."
Bell continues, "We are also highly sensitive to the needs of the local community and will work together with the District of Fort. St. James and Nak'azdli Whu'ten not only to operate a successful business but to do so in a way that is respectful to the environment and the people that live in the region."
Making use of forest biomass for bioenergy is a way for the Province to meet the energy objectives of its CleanBC plan and transition to a low-carbon economy. The Fort St. James Green Energy Project is connected to a 20-year forestry licence to supply fibre to the facility (and its operating partners). The combined knowledge and complimentary skillsets of Arrow, NDC, Nak'azdli Whu'ten, and Nexus PMG mean the partnership is ideally positioned to turn the distressed asset into a successful and sustainable clean energy operation.
Arrow brings significant expertise in acquiring and producing biomass fibre and providing transportation, logistics and supply chain management, and has more than 100 years' experience in successful operations management in Canada and the United States. Nak'azdli Whu'ten and NDC provide deep knowledge of natural resources and forestry and have relationships with other major forest tenure holders within the region. Nexus PMG brings unmatched technical and operational knowledge of biomass power generation facilities, having designed, developed, and commissioned over 1,000 megawatts of facilities around the world.
"Nexus looks for low-carbon projects where we can use our financial, engineering, and project management expertise for the greater good, locally and globally," commented Ben Hubbard, Nexus PMG's CEO. "This project will improve the utilization of low-quality bioenergy stands in the Fort St. James region to power local industry, homes, and businesses across the province, while also delivering social, environmental, and economic benefits."
For Nak'azdli Whu'ten and NDC, partnership in this project is a way to challenge the future, building on a rich history of working with industry. Eighteenth-century Nak'azdli Whu'ten leader Chief Kw'eh created a legacy through his collaborative ability to provide for both his people and the early fur traders. The Fort St. James Green Energy project continues this legacy and has received the support and approval of Nak'azdli Whut'en Chief and Council and the NDC Board.
"The BioNorth Energy partnership is a way for us to model what meaningful relationships look like between industry and Indigenous communities that are truly open for business," comments Reg Mueller, NDC's CEO. "We have created an opportunity to be involved directly in the management and circular use of forest resources within our traditional territory. And, as a significant equity owner in a multimillion-dollar project, we will be meeting market demand for clean energy while supporting regional economic development and creating local employment. This is a win for Nak'azdli Whu'ten and the region as a whole."
BioNorth Energy expects to begin generating power at the facility in early 2022.
About the Arrow Group of Companies
The Arrow Group of Companies is a leader in transportation, logistics, environmental and forest residual management. The Arrow Group is a privately owned company with a track record of success for over 102 years.
About the Nak'azdli Development Corporation
NDC was established in 1987 and represents the membership of Nak'azdli Whut'en in its economic and business interests. This includes taking a proactive role in land stewardship and resource management and identifying ways for Nak'azdli to grow and improve the well-being of community members.
About Nexus PMG
Nexus is the point where project finance, development, and operations connect. The company focuses on delivering world-class services to investors and developers on projects that reduce carbon intensity and enhance resource efficiency.
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