Flying Dust First Nation partners in new flare gas-to-power facility

The facility is expected to reduce emissions of around 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually by converting otherwise wasted flare gas into power.

On Tuesday SaskPower, Flying Dust First Nation (FDFN), and Genalta Power (Genalta) announced the signing of a 20-year power purchase agreement for a 15-megawatt flare gas-to-power facility near Coleville, Saskatchewan.

The Kopahawakenum flare to power facility is expected to be the largest such operation in Saskatchewan when it opens in 2023. The flares are used by oil and gas production sites to dispose of flammable gases. Flare gas can be converted into electricity by burning in an engine or turbine.

“This new project, which will create some 50 jobs during construction and 20 into operation, will be the largest flare gas-to-power operation in the province, generate power for around 9,000 Saskatchewan homes, and reduce emissions,” Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said in a written statement.

“As a methane capture and commercialization project, it is another example of Saskatchewan’s world-class innovation and another step to achieving our goals under the provincial Methane Action Plan.”

Each year, about 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas is flared (burned) globally, emitting around 400 million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions and other pollutants.

Saskatchewan’s Methane Action Plan aims to reduce methane-based gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent, a reduction of between 4 and 4.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2025. 

The facility will require about four million cubic feet of gas per day, resulting in the reduction of around 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually according to the province.

“This project will use flare gas that would otherwise have been emitted into the atmosphere to create low-carbon baseload electricity,”minister responsible for SaskPower Don Morgan said.  

“This is a win-win, as the oil and gas operation can generate revenue and reduce its exposure to the carbon tax, while contributing to the Province of Saskatchewan and SaskPower’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Flying Dust First Nation is near Meadow Lake in northern Saskatchewan and Coleville is just north of Kindersley in the southern part of the province.

 “Flying Dust First Nation is very proud to participate in this business opportunity,” FDFN Chief Jeremy Norman said. 

 “This project will provide much needed own source revenue to our community and membership for years to come.  It has always been a goal of the FDFN to seek and create opportunities and be part of the Saskatchewan Growth Plan.”

Genalta Power is an Alberta-based company that builds, owns, operates and maintains power plants fueled by waste, excess or unused energy sources. 

“We are very excited to be moving forward with this project with our partners The Flying Dust First Nation, First Nation Power Authority and SaskPower,” Genalta Power President and CEO Paul Miller said. 

“The compressed natural gas virtual pipeline being utilized by the project will allow for the removal of flaring and venting across a wider area in the province and ensure that we are utilizing as much of the energy from a barrel of oil that is brought to the surface as possible. 

“This solution for flare and vent gas collection for power generation will significantly reduce flare and vent volumes in this area of Saskatchewan.” 

The partnership agreement was developed between SaskPower and the First Nations Power Authority (FNPA), a not-for-profit organization that works to include Indigenous people in Saskatchewan’s power sector. Kopahawakenum means “kicking up the dust” in Cree. 

SaskPower and the FNPA have signed an agreement to source 20 megawatts of electricity from power generation projects that use methane from oil production as the fuel source and are led by First Nations communities and businesses.

FNPA President and CEO Guy Lonechild called the partnership “a major milestone.” 

“On behalf of First Nations Power Authority, board and staff, we are proud of the work of Flying Dust First Nation and their partner, Genalta Power,” Lonechild said.

The project is conditionally approved under the province’s Oil and Gas Processing Investment Incentive and the Saskatchewan Petroleum Innovation Incentive.  

Under both programs, government investment follows up-front private investment.

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