Alberta approves 96-MW Strathcona cogen of ATCO Power

In a Sept. 28 decision, the Alberta Utilities Commission approved three applications from ATCO Power Canada Ltd. for a 96-MW cogeneration plant, a 240-kV substation and an industrial system designation (ISD).

The Strathcona Cogeneration Plant would be located northeast of Fort Saskatchewan to support the operation of Williams Canada Propylene ULC’s Alberta propane dehydrogenation (PDH) facility and a polypropylene (PP) facility.

Said the Sept. 28 approval: “After consideration of the record of the proceeding, and for the reasons outlined in this decision, the Commission finds that approval of the project is in the public interest having regard to the social, economic, and other effects of the project, including its effect on the environment.”

Williams selected ATCO Power to construct, own and operate the Strathcona Cogeneration Plant. The cogen will provide electricity and high-pressure steam to the Williams Alberta PDH facility and the PP facility. The electricity that is generated in excess of the project’s requirements would be exported to the Alberta Interconnected Electric System (AIES).

ATCO Power said the cogen would consist of two 48-MW natural gas turbine generators each equipped with a heat recovery steam generator, with a total generating capability of 96 MW. ATCO Power submitted that the project substation would consist of two 240/13.8-kV transformers and two 240-kV circuits, each approximately 200 meters in length, to connect the substation to a new 240-kV switching station to be owned by AltaLink Management Ltd.

ATCO Power submitted that Williams currently operates a cryogenic liquids extraction plant near Fort McMurray that processes off-gas from oil sands production. Williams also has an ownership interest in the Redwater olefins fractionation (ROF) plant. In addition, Williams owns and operates the Boreal Pipeline, which connects the extraction plant to the ROF plant. Williams intends to transport propane from the ROF plant by pipeline to the proposed PDH facility and use that propane, as well as propane sourced locally, as a feedstock for the production of propylene at its PDH facility. At the PDH facility, Williams would use the high-pressure steam produced by ATCO Power’s cogeneration unit to remove hydrogen from the propane. This process would yield polymer grade propylene and other by-products, such as butane, butylene, condensate and hydrogen. The butane, butylene and condensate would be returned to the ROF plant for further processing and the hydrogen would either be sent to ATCO Power’s cogeneration plant to be used as a fuel source or sold locally. The polymer grade propylene would be transported to the polypropylene facility via pipeline. The polypropylene facility would convert the propylene into polypropylene pellets which would be sold to market.

ATCO Power said the cogen would be used to provide high-pressure steam, electricity, and other utilities (i.e. emergency power, boiler, compressed air, etc.) to support the operations at the PDH facility and the PP facility. ATCO Power explained that the electricity generated in excess of the project’s requirements would be exported to the AIES.

The application said the expected in-service date for the project is in August 2020.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
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 24 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.