It was almost a full house at the Community Centre in Fort St. James as people gathered in the theatre room to hear a presentation from Rick Peterson, plant manager at Veolia Fort Green Energy.
Community members were eager to learn more about this new local edition, its impacts environmentally and future prospects including possible job opportunities.
The Fort St. James Veolia Fort Green Energy Plant is planning to be ready for operation in December, 2016.
Veolia is considered to be one of the leading providers of environmental solutions and they are looking forward to a future in Fort St. James.
Veolia’s mission is to resource the world in helping their customers address their environmental and sustainability challenges in energy, water and waste.
According to Veolia, this means improving their client’s efficiency by better managing their water and wastewater and recovering resources from their wastes.
Community members were curious.
How will this affect Fort St. James? What are the benefits and mostly, what are the environmental issues associated with Veolia?
After a brief presentation, Peterson was able to address many of these questions and concerns.
Iberdrolia is the main contractor of the facility and Veolia North America will be the operator.
The Fort St. James facility will operate 24/7 and consume 200,000 metric tonnes of biomass per year.
But how will this impact the environment?
According to Peterson, the biomass is burned in a high efficiency boiler that ensures that biomass is burned as completely and as efficiently as possible. All dust is controlled in the plant.
“We are not allowed to make smoke,” Peterson said. “What’s being discharged into the air from the stack is carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and water vapour.”
“The wood is not carcinogenic. It’s just wood,” he said.
Veolia uses green and recyclable products only. The ash is considered to be a good natural fertilizer and Peterson hopes that this can eventually be utilised by local farmers.
In terms of job opportunities, there will be various positions available including power engineers and electrical and instrumentation technicians.
”Our intent is to hire locally as much as possible. We don’t want this being a fly in and fly out operation,” Peterson said.
Contract and support potentials will also be available in: maintenance including mechanical and electrical labourers, suppliers, (parts and materials) general services (such as cleaning and work clothing) and biomass supply including fuel and ash hauling.
Veolia also intends to set up apprenticeship programs with local colleges.
“We intend to be a good, responsible corporate citizen,” Peterson said.
“We’re here for the long haul”.
For more information on Veolia and future job opportunities visit: veolianorthamerica.com