After years of planning, budgeting and work, the integrated carbon capture and storage (ICCS) demonstration project at the Boundary Dam Power Station is nearing completion.
“With the capture island, we've started to take over some of the plant, and start commissioning it ourselves,” said SaskPower president Robert Watson.
Boundary Dam's Unit 3 is being retrofitted. The focus is currently on the turbine and the boiler, and it is expected to be fully operational by October.
Watson expects that everything will be virtually finished before the end of the year.
“If there is any work remaining, it will only be finishing the work for a very few people, and we fully expect to have it starting production in the November time frame, with testing and capturing the carbon dioxide,” said Watson.
“We don't have to have the full production done, and delivering CO2, until April of next year. We'll take three or four months and properly commission the project.”
There was a slight delay in July when contractors thought that they might have found traces of asbestos within Unit 3, but the concerns proved to be unfounded, and the refurbishment efforts resumed.
And now that the project is nearing completion, the number of contractors is starting to dwindle, Watson said. They are down to about 400 to 500 people on site, compared with more than 1,000 who were there at the peak construction time. And while Estevan's housing shortage is well-documented, SaskPower didn't have any trouble finding a home for those workers.
“Logistically, it worked very well,” said Watson. “We had … some camp housing and some housing in the community.”
The project has also been on budget, he said, and they're confident that it will remain close to the projected amount.
Watson said that SaskPower is confident that the ICCS project at Boundary Dam will be viable. The construction phase went “better than ever expected,” he said.