Work is under way on a new biomass heating system in Yellowknife that could significantly reduce oil use and costs for the territorial government.
J&R Mechanical is building the district heating system, to be powered by a 390-kilowatt wood pellet boiler. Ken Miller, vice president of operations, said it’s three to four weeks from completion.
“There’s been a lot of red tape involved, permits and stuff with the city and all that,” he said. “We’re getting really close to having a substantially complete and functional system.”
During the project’s first phase, the system will supply heat to the territory’s central warehouse on Byrne Road and three privately-owned buildings. Miller hopes to then expand the system to more buildings.
“We just want to get this first phase running and prove that everything’s working properly,” he said.
The territorial government said it expects the new heating system to reduce oil use in the warehouse by about 60,000 litres every year, or 90 percent of current oil use.
The territory said biomass will reduce emissions while lowering and stabilizing operating costs, adding it’s more cost-effective to have a central plant heating multiple buildings.