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    Canadian Utility Sanctions Coal-to-Gas Conversion


Capital Power will be off coal by 2023, has net-zero by 2050 aspiration

by: Dale Lunan

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Canadian Utility Sanctions Coal-to-Gas Conversion

Capital Power, an Alberta-based utility with generating facilities at 28 locations in Canada and the US, said December 3 it had sanctioned the C$997mn (US$778mn) repowering of the remaining two coal-fired units at its Genesee station west of Edmonton.

Speaking to the utility’s virtual investor day, CEO Brian Vaasjo said the conversion program is the latest part of Capital Power’s strategy to be off coal by 2023 and net-zero by 2050.

“With the repowering of the Genesee 1 and 2 units utilising best-in-class technology, they will be the most efficient natural gas combined cycle units in Canada, allowing us to be off-coal in 2023 and directly delivering 3.4mn mt of annual carbon emission reductions,” he said. A third unit at Genesee is undergoing dual-fuel upgrades, but will run on 100% natural gas beginning in 2023.

Repowering will provide an additional 560 MW of net capacity, bringing the net output capacity to 1,360 MW.

Simple cycle components at Units 1 and 2 will be completed first, allowing them to run in simple cycle mode until the combined-cycle repowering of both are completed in 2023 (Unit 1) and 2024 (Unit 2), avoiding any downtime, Vaasjo said.

The units will be 30% hydrogen-ready when the repowering project is completed, and can be upgraded to 95% at minimal cost. They will also be carbon conversion ready, supporting Capital Power’s adjacent Genesee Carbon Conversion Centre, construction of which is underway with commercial operations to initially produce 2,500 mt/yr of carbon nanotubes expected in Q4 2021.