Sustainable Beer—Canada Malting Thunder Bay Cuts Energy Costs By 60%

Canada Malting Company’s (CMC) Thunder Bay operation is now the lowest electrical cost producer in the company thanks to a new $7.1 million Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facility made possible through $2.4 million in incentives from the Independent Electricity System Operator and provided by Thunder Bay Hydro. The 2.0 megawatt facility allows Canada Malting to generate electricity and heat energy simultaneously, cutting energy costs and reducing Canada Malting’s demand on the provincial energy grid.

Before the CHP plant opened in May, the Thunder Bay operation was CMC’s highest electricity cost facility, putting the local plant’s viability in question. CMC Thunder Bay is the last commercial malting facility in Ontario. Each year the plant supplies enough malt for 2.5 billion bottles of beer and has sold out all of its capacity malt since 2004. Still, plant manager Jim Desaulniers says production costs were too high. He knew the key to staying in Thunder Bay would be energy savings.

With the new CHP facility, Canada Malting’s electricity costs have dropped from 13 cents per Kilowatt Hour to 4.5 cents, saving $961,483 per year and 1,920 kilowatts of electrical demand. The CHP saves 14,983 megawatt hours per year—enough to annually power 1,600 homes in Thunder Bay. The available heat energy of 2,142 kw from the engine circuits makes the CHP 93.9% fuel efficient.

CMC is now reviewing CHP possibilities in their Montreal and Calgary operations as well. “Canada Malting Company’s Thunder Bay facility will cut its electrical costs by more than 60 per cent because of this project. With more than 120 customers, including some of the world’s leading brewers, the Combined Heat and Power facility will make us even more competitive in the future and grow a local operation that currently supports 54 employees in Thunder Bay,” Desaulniers says.

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Ontario Minster of Energy Hon. Glenn Thibeault tours Canada Malting’s new combined heat and power facility.

Desaulniers welcomed Minister of Energy Hon. Glenn Thibeault, Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Bill Mauro, IESO vice-president of corporate and customer relations, Terry Young, and Thunder Bay Hydro President and CEO Robert Mace to tour the facility.

“Canada Malting is one of many great local success stories for Thunder Bay Hydro. We’re proud to see incentives offered through Thunder Bay Hydro in conjunction with the IESO to help companies like Canada Malting stay sustainable and competitive by becoming more energy efficient,” Mace said.

Ontario Energy Minister Hon. Glenn Thibeault said, “Congratulations to Canada Malting Co. Ltd and Thunder Bay Hydro for recognizing the smart, long-term benefits of CHP as an efficient way to generate electricity and thermal energy. This CHP facility will help Canada Malting save on their electricity costs and it will reduce demand on the local grid, conserving electricity. Saving money on energy helps local businesses thrive and keeps good jobs in Thunder Bay.”

For more information on energy incentives for local businesses visit tbhydro.saveonenergy.ca/business and for more information on Canada Malting, check out the story in our October 2011 issue.