Energy Management — Canfor
Thanks to the focused efforts of our Energy Manager and mill employees, our energy management initiatives are saving 13,300 MWh annually, enough energy to power 930 homes each year. Our focus in 2016 was on the commissioning of the Canfor Energy North wood pellet facilities and other capital projects, such as installation of high-efficiency lighting, compressed air upgrades, and high pressure blower conversions to conveyors. For 2017, we will focus on improving internal energy use information reporting and raising awareness at our divisions about energy efficiency opportunities.
Early in 2016 we completed construction and began operation of pellet plants in Chetwynd and Fort St. John, BC. Both are located adjacent to Canfor sawmills, and are part of a partnership with Pacific BioEnergy LP, a BC-based producer of carbon neutral wood pellet fuel. The plants use sawmill residual fibre to produce pellets and through contracts with offshore customers provide stable cash flow from material once considered waste. The Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) generator at our Chetwynd facility ramped up in 2016, producing 7,500 MWh of electricity, enough to power 530 homes.
Our target to reduce electricity use at our BC and Alberta sawmills by 10% is a standing target, and we assess progress by monthly tracking and annual benchmarking. The ratio of electrical consumption and mill lumber production results in an energy intensity metric (kWh/Mfbm) which can be compared against the same ratio for our 2011 baseline year. In 2016, we maintained a 5.1% kWh/Mfbm intensity reduction by achieving a 112.5 kWh/Mfbm intensity relative to our 2011 baseline year of 118.5 kWh/Mfbm.
Natural gas purchases increased slightly as a result of acquisitions in the US South.
The slight increase in electricity purchases is a result of acquisitions in the US South and the start-up of the Canfor Energy North pellet plants, tempered by generation at Canfor Energy North Chetwynd Pellet Plant and Organic Rankine Cycle generation facility.