Group ponders how to power Huu-ay-aht LNG project

Huu-ay-aht and Steelhead LNG officials are pondering how to power a proposed LNG facility in Sarita Bay.

Officials are pondering how to power a proposed LNG facility in Sarita Bay, near the mouth of the Alberni Inlet.

The plant would be built in two phases, said Ian Hill, engineer with Steelhead LNG, which signed an agreement Tuesday with the Huu-ay-aht First Nation to study the feasibility of an LNG plant.

The first phase would require 600 megawatts of electricity constantly to run. If the plant expands then it will require 1,200 megawatts to operate.

The Sarita Bay area is remote with no hydro facility.

The Huu-ay-aht are planning a run-of-river micro hydro project and have applied for a water license, Huu-ay-aht chief councillor Jeff Cook said. The project would be built downstream of Sarita Lake.

“But it would only produce five megawatts (of power). It might be enough to power a small workcamp at the site but not nearly enough to power a plant,” Cook said.

LNG projectOnce built, the plant’s biggest consumer of power will be the compressors used to chill the gas.

Power to run the compressors can be supplied in one of two ways: by converting a small portion of the liquid natural gas brought into the site and turning it into to a gas that would power turbines; or two, bringing power in from the BC Hydro grid to generate power that drives the compressor.

“There’s no grid option at present though,” Hill said about the lack of electric power at the site.

Another option would be to generate power using hog fuel similar to an LNG facility in Squamish does.

“But they only produce two million tonnes (of LNG per year). This one would be 24 million tonnes.”

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