It took them nearly a decade, but Scierie Girard, a sawmill based in Shipshaw, Que., finally convinced Hydro-Quebec to offer a rebate for medium-volume customers who want to use the utility’s surplus electric power. In April of 2019, Scierie Girard became eligible for “Rate M” in Hydro Quebec’s pricing structure, with a fixed levy of $3.73 /kWh. Eliminating the mills need to purchase yearly 2.4 million liters of propane. However, Hydro-Quebec’s offer did come with a major constraint: clients who took advantage of the rate are obliged to halt energy consumption during peak winter demand periods. The mill has been fully functional on electric kiln drying since 11-22-19. Benoit Girard, president of Scierie Girard said, “We had to shut down our dryers for a total of about 25 hours this winter, broken down into short periods lasting about five hours each. Although this slowed production, it was more than worth it because of the large overall savings the bundle provides. It costs us about $10 to dry a thousand board feet of wood,” he adds.
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Revolutionary power: Quebec mill sees benefits switching to electric system