As Canada moves to transform the electricity industry to net zero by 2030, a power generating station that has been part of Alberta’s electricity grid since the mid-1950s is being eyed up for a major transition. Heartland Generation is studying the idea of converting the Battle River Power Station, which originally burned coal and has since been converted to natural gas, into a hydrogen burning facility.
“The 2035 date is absolutely a challenge for everybody, but it’s an exciting challenge for us,” Heartland Generation’s director of energy transition, Shana Boyd told Global News.
“We’re looking at the next steps in decarbonization, and how we could possibly use hydrogen as a fuel at our existing power plants.”
The proposal would see the company not only convert the existing plant to burn hydrogen, but to build an entirely new facility on the same site to produce the needed hydrogen by converting natural gas.
“We bring a new element of technology to the table, and we also use the existing asset to be able to generate reliable electricity that doesn’t have carbon emissions,” Body said.
The feasibility study is being funded, in part, with a $5 million grant from Emissions Reduction Alberta through a carbon capture competition.
“You’re seeing an economy in transition — in transformation, really,” said Emissions Reduction Alberta CEO, Justin Riemer.
The Battle River proposal is one of eleven in total that received $40 million in funding in the competition. Other projects include, Capital Power’s Genesee carbon capture proposal, Lafarge Canada’s Exshaw cement carbon capture and the Bow Valley decarbonization plan.
ERA estimates that if every project moves to completion, capital investment would top $20 billion, and Alberta would cut carbon emissions by 24 million tonnes annually — the equivalent of removing 7.4 million passenger vehicles from the road.
“We have the technical expertise and the labour force that can execute the massive industrial energy-based projects that very few jurisdictions around the world can do,” Riemer said.
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