FortisBC has moved one step closer to bringing natural gas to Revelstoke.
In a news release last week, the utility announced they are evaluating the economic and technical viability of converting Revelstoke to a natural gas fuel system from the current propane system.
The development wouldn’t involve building an LNG pipeline to Revelstoke — instead it would be transported here from the Lower Mainland, stored and then vapourized and piped into the system as needed.
“Bringing the benefits of natural gas to Revelstoke has been discussed for years, but connecting the community to existing gas lines simply wasn’t viable,” said Doug Stout, FortisBC’s vice-president, market development and external relations, in a news release. “However, LNG has opened the door to powering remote communities with natural gas, and we believe Revelstoke may be a good fit. The proposed project is an example of the versatility of LNG and the positive impact it can have for communities in British Columbia.”
The Times Review first reported on this possibility in March, when a FortisBC spokesperson said the plans were in “very early stages.” Now the plan has moved into the planning and consultation stage.
Natural gas prices have been trending downwards recently while propane prices have increased, so the conversion should mean lowerheating bills for Revelstokians.
“Many of us in Revelstoke are drawn here by the natural beauty and lifestyle of the area. To have natural gas powering Revelstoke would mean residents and businesses can reduce their carbon footprint,” said Revelstoke Mayor David Raven. “Having a cleaner burning fuel that’s more affordable is a win-win for our community.”
Downie Timber expressed support for the plan, saying it would help reduce their energy costs.
“We’re committed to responsible environmental stewardship and ongoing improvements and development of our manufacturing facilities,” said Alan Smythe, operations manager of the Downie Timber sawmill. “FortisBC’s plan to bring natural gas to the community would help us with both of those goals.”
No timeline has been set for the conversion project.
The city is also looking at proposals for the development of a bioenergy plant that would convert wood waste into green energy such as liquid diesel. More than 50 responses were received from an initial request for expressions of interest. The responses are now being reviewed by consultant John Christie.