By: Quesnel Cariboo Observer
Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. announced today (May 31) that it will curtail operations at its Quesnel pellet plant effective immediately.
There are a number of factors that have gone into the decision. Key among them are that the plant, first opened in 1988, was designed to process a diet of dry residuals from the local sawmills.
“That source of fibre is no longer available,” said Leroy Reitsma, President of Pinnacle. “As a result, there is currently no secure, sustainable, economically available fibre to support the operation of the Quesnel mill.”
The Mountain Pine Beetle infestation has created an inventory of standing timber that, while useless as sawlog, is suitable for wood pellet manufacturing. So Pinnacle will continue to work with tenure holders and the provincial government to determine whether secure access to non-sawlog standing timber can be achieved within an economically viable framework.
However, significant capital upgrades are also necessary at the Quesnel plant in order to be able to economically, efficiently and safely process this new fibre source into wood pellets.
“We believe it makes sense right now to take the time to do the analysis required to determine the scope and feasibility of making those upgrades. This period of curtailment is necessary to do that work,” said Reitsma.
“We share our employees’ desire for certainty,” he added. “We have not come to this decision lightly and will be working to minimize the duration of this decision to 9-10 months.”
Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. is the longest-established wood pellet producer in Western Canada. Founded in Quesnel in 1988, Pinnacle runs seven pellet plants throughout B.C., producing more than one and a half million tonnes annually, and employing more than 250 people. Pinnacle is committed to ensuring the highest level of safety within all of its operations.