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Innovation investments yield environmental results

Environmental performance case studies from the 2014 Sustainable Electricity Annual Report, Engaged for a Sustainable Future.


Across the country, CEA members are working to minimize the electricity sector’s environmental impact:

AltaLink builds a cleaner, greener vehicle fleet

Of the 159 vehicles in AltaLink’s fleet, 77 are hybrid, electric or utilize green diesel technology and the company is constantly investing in new technologies and equipment to improve efficiency. One such technology can be found in AltaLink’s hybrid plug-in bucket truck. Rather than relying on the truck’s engine, the bucket is powered by a plug-in battery. This eliminates idling time at the jobsite, which reduces emissions as well as fuel consumption.


Some of AltaLink’s vehicles, including a plug-in hydrid bucket truck. Photo courtesy of AltaLink.


ATCO Power helps develop and implement new standards for mercury emissions reducations

Beginning in 2002, ATCO Power worked closely with industry, government and environmental organizations to develop mercury standards for Alberta’s electricity sector. It has since implemented and optimized the mercury emission controls (which inject activated carbon into flue gas to capture mercury) at its two coal-fired generation plants. By changing the injection points and the type of carbon used, ATCO Power achieved a capture rate of greater than 80 per cent in 2013, resulting in a 26 per cent decrease in mercury emissions relative to 2012.

Removing harmful anhydrous ammonia at ENMAX’s Calgary Energy Centre

ENMAX Corporation’s Calgary Energy Centre (CEC) uses selective catalytic reduction (specifically, the injection of anhydrous ammonia) to decrease NOX emissions. With the land around the facility becoming increasingly developed, ENMAX decided to change the type of ammonia it uses to reduce the area of the emergency zone required in the event of an ammonia release. The CEC is the first generation facility in Canada to replace 99 per cent anhydrous ammonia with 19 per cent aqueous ammonia, a safer mix that minimizes potential impacts on people and the environment. CalgaryEnergyCentreENMAX Corporation’s Calgary Energy Centre. Photo courtesy of ENMAX Corporation.

Enhancing EPCOR’s response to spills and releases

In 2013, EPCOR Utilities Inc.’s Spill Team participated in a pair of training scenarios to improve the way the company’s incident command system structure responds to PCB spills and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) releases. These exercises helped confirm the current state of emergency preparedness at EPCOR, improve awareness and knowledge of systems and procedures within the Spill Team, and provided a forum for team members to discuss emergency response procedures with the company’s environmental advisor.

Reusing poles and transformers at FortisAlberta

Each year, more than 1,000 wood poles less than five years old and 550 transformers less than 10 years old are removed from FortisAlberta Inc.’s distribution system as a result of damage, system upgrades and road widening. In 2013, FortisAlberta initiated a Material Reuse Program, resulting in the reuse of 42 per cent of poles and 51 per cent of transformers. The program returned a reduced environmental footprint and savings of more than $1 million in inventory purchases.

Manitoba Hydro implements action plan on PCBs

Manitoba Hydro continued to make progress on its action plan to fulfill the requirements of the federal regulations on PCBs and oil-filled equipment. Its plan includes the identification of all bushings that contain (or may contain) at least 500 ppm of PCBs so that these bushings can be replaced by the end of 2014. The bushing identification process will also serve to better align records within Manitoba Hydro’s asset management systems.

Maritime Electric is ahead of schedule on PCB end-of-use compliance

As part of its Health, Safety and Environmental Management System, Maritime Electric Company, Limited has launched a program to identify the location of any remaining mercury vapour street lamps that may contain PCB-contaminated components and has set targets to ensure end-of-use prior to 2025. The company also has a strategy in place to ensure compliance with regulatory end-of-use guidelines for pole mount transformers that may contain PCBs. These actions position Maritime Electric to be compliant well before the federal government’s 2025 timeline.

Nalcor Energy updates response plan for river and reservoir spills

Over the past few years, Nalcor Energy has put considerable effort into limiting the likelihood of oil being discharged into the Churchill River from its powerhouse, in particular, by implementing prevention and response procedures and equipment. Last year, Nalcor Energy revised its River and Reservoir Spill Response Plan to better align with national standards for emergency planning. The updated plan now includes a quick-reference flowchart that makes it easier for employees to understand their roles and responsibilities in the event of a spill.

NalcorResponsePlanRiver Spill Responders train at the Churchill Falls Tailrace using peat moss, a commonly used method to simulate oil in training exercises. Photo courtesy of Nalcor Energy.
Use the menu at the right to read more member success stories and case studies from the 2014 Sustainable Electricity Annual Report, Engaged for a Sustainable Future, or get the PDF here.