Remote Haida community installs 720-kW biomass boiler

BC Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
August 22, 2017
Written by BC Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Remote Haida community installs 720-kW biomass boiler
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Aug. 22, 2017 - From tiny seedlings mighty cedars grow. Or, in this case, from $30,000 grows a $1.3-million biomass boiler that can heat a community.

The $30,000 was capacity funding provided through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund to Old Massett Village Council. Part of the Haida Nation, the council needed funding in 2013 to complete a Community Energy Plan to see if the remote community on Graham Island could become energy self-sufficient, while also reducing their carbon footprint.

From that plan came the idea to install a biomass boiler that could heat all of Old Massett’s community buildings, including the band office, community hall, health centre and school. The Community Energy Plan provided the blueprint to build a 720-kw boiler that was commissioned in March 2017.

Their desire to cut costs for community members in an environmentally responsible way made them eligible for provincial funding to get the project underway.

“It was the initial investment that allowed us to prepare the Community Energy Plan, and that was the catalyst to make all this subsequent installation a resounding success. We now enjoy a comfortable warmth in all our buildings and can say with confidence that we are now not impacting our environment,” said John Disney, Old Massett’s economic development officer.

Saving more than $10,000 a month compared to previous heating costs, Disney estimates the community can save $130,000 each year. Even better, he said, is a reduction in carbon output from 300 tonnes per year to only nine tonnes.

Screen_Shot_2017-08-22_at_9.24.50_AM.png“That is a success story. If we hadn’t received First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund support to prepare the Community Energy Plan, I don’t think this would have happened. Community Energy Plans are important for where they lead us,” Disney said.

In fact, Disney said that having the Community Energy Plan in hand was the key to securing additional funding, including a bank loan, since it clearly demonstrated the savings that could be realized with the proposed biomass boiler.

Old Massett has had a couple of months to iron out the kinks in the system and it now takes only one part-time worker to keep everything running smoothly. And, most importantly, now sitting dormant is a tangle of old heating systems, which includes propane, oil and diesel-generated electricity.

The new system burns wood fibre from the Haida Gwaii Forest Products sawmill, of which Old Massett is half owner, and has future capacity for a council wish list that includes expanding the health centre and school, and building a community swimming pool and a greenhouse.


+1 #3 David Tiessen 2017-09-27 19:25
Alan Smith if you do a little research you will discover you are...... mistaken.

Biomass combustion, creates heat and/or electricity, releases carbon (C) which then attaches to 2 oxygen molecules (O,O) already in the atmosphere to become CO2 once again. Then through the process of photosynthesis mother nature converts the C back into biomass and release the O2 back to the atmosphere.

Biomass is a closed loop system, and as you can see no additional CO2 is added to the atmosphere.

However, should that biomass have been sequestered by mother nature under ground over 100s of millions of years then combusted in the form of coal, oil, gasoline, or unnatural gas in a short 150 years, enough carbon is released to end a 800,000 year equilibrium of atmospheric CO2 from 240-260 PPM to over 400 PPM today.
-5 #2 Alan Smith 2017-08-24 21:44
Definitely not greenhouse neutral. Burning wood as well as fossil fuels adds CO2 to the air with wood adding more than natural gas or even coal.
+1 #1 Harry Ha 2017-08-24 17:35
C.C.Solutions is about to become a registered member of Canadian Wood Waste Recycling Business Group and a membership fee of $400 payment is due. As the CEO of C.C.Slutions, I am looking for a sponsor to support the membership fee. The willing sponsor will be the beneficiary to install the first biomass CHP combined heat power unit to a sponsor's community. The CHP unit would be first its kind that would be so efficient that can compete with solar PV power. You may inquire about it with Mr. Jim Donaldson 780 239 5445 of CWWRBG.

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