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Alive and Well and Doing Better than Ever! — A Boundary Dam Update

August 11, 2016

Nine months ago on these pages, I reported that the Boundary Dam retrofit carbon capture project in Sasketchewan Canada not only was working to keep literally hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, but was controlling 13 percent more of that climate pollution than would be required of a new coal unit in the United States.  That is NO SMALL FEAT for a 45-year old existing coal-fired power plant, and one we celebrated at that time.

Now comes the current news:  the company’s most recent report shows that this one unit 110 MW retrofit project has captured and sequestered 1,028,000 metric tons (1,133,176 US tons, plus a fraction), since it began operations in October 2014.

Ok, ho hum so what, you say?  For some perspective, the same unit without any controls would emit roughly 1 US ton of carbon dioxide for every MW-hour of energy it produced.  So, running at 100 percent (which these plants typically do not do), that’s 110 tons of carbon dioxide an hour, 2640 tons a day, 963,600 tons a year.

From July 2015 to July 2016 Boundary Dam 3 captured 488,300 metric tons (538,258 US tons, plus a bit).  That’s about 500,000 carbon-free megawatt hours of energy per year – roughly the same amount as around 840,000 solar panels would produce (all calculations available at our offices).

Last year I also reported that if Boundary Dam captured 400,000 tons US per year, it would exceed EPA’s performance standards for new units.  If it did better than that (as it has in the last 12 months), it would further exceed EPA’s standards.  A unit in the US, retrofit in this way, could provide a significant number of carbon dioxide allowances – or emissions rate credits – towards CPP compliance.

Bottom line:  The Boundary Dam 3 coal unit retrofit is capturing and sequestering a LOT of carbon dioxide and doing so predictably and while reliably producing a significant amount of electricity.

For those of us who care about the climate, this is very good news indeed.

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