ENMAX delays 165-MW, gas-fired project in Alberta by four years

Company now has until June 2020 to complete construction

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ENMAX Bonnybrook Inc. (EBI) won a Dec. 22 approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission to delay construction of a 165-MW project due to weak market conditions.

EBI had a previous approval to construct and operate the Bonnybrook Energy Centre, a 165-MW natural gas-fired plant located at 3316 Bonnybrook S.E., Calgary, Alberta.

EBI in May asked the commission for approval to extend the completion date of the power plant from June 30, 2016, to June 30, 2020. EBI stated it was delaying construction in response to generation additions made by ENMAX Power Corp. (ENMAX) and the weak economic conditions in the Alberta electricity market. EBI also stated that the Bonnybrook Energy Centre would supply mid-merit energy and currently ENMAX’s near-term requirement for mid-merit energy is satisfied with the purchasing of the Cavalier Energy Centre and 50% ownership of the Balzac Energy Centre.

EBI stated that extending the completion date of the power plant would allow it the opportunity to respond to improving market conditions once the weak economic condition subsides. EBI added that extending the completion date would preserve it the opportunity to meet the changing generation supply needs of the Alberta market due to the retirement of coal-fired power plants.

"Based upon the information provided, the Commission finds that EBI has demonstrated that the requested time extension is necessary for EBI to complete construction of the power plant," said the Dec. 22 order. "For these reasons, the Commission finds the application to be in the public interest in accordance with Section 17 of the Alberta Utilities Commission Act. The Commission grants the approval of the requested time extension to June 30, 2020, to complete construction of the power plant."

Said the project website: "ENMAX Energy Corporation is proposing to build and operate a 165 megawatt (MW) natural gas-fuelled co-generation facility that will provide enough electricity for about half of downtown Calgary's energy requirements. The facility will be located on the Canada Malting site at 3316 Bonnybrook Road SE in an industrial zoned area in Calgary. The Bonnybrook Energy Centre (BEC) will use efficient combined-cycle technology that generates electricity from combustion turbines fuelled by natural gas, and from a steam turbine fuelled by heat produced by the combustion turbines. Heat from the combustion turbines is also used to produce hot water that could potentially be used by other businesses."

Said a September 2015 project newsletter about the delays: "In fall 2012, ENMAX requested and received approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to extend the completion date of the project to June 2016, due to changing near-term market conditions. Market conditions today are impacting many industries in Alberta. The decline in oil and gas prices may impact the pace of economic development for many years. In response, ENMAX has requested approval from the AUC to further extend the BEC completion date to June 2020. ENMAX believes that once these weak economic conditions subside, the Alberta power market will again require additional power generation."

Barry Cassell
About the Author

Barry Cassell

Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 26 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.

Barry can be reached at barryc@pennwell.com.

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