Revy could go from propane to LNG

FortisBC is determining the feasibility of converting its current customer base in Revelstoke from propane to liquefied natural gas (LNG).

“Residents in Revelstoke could enjoy more stable energy bills and cleaner burning fuel, pending the results of an evaluation by FortisBC to convert the community… to liquefied natural gas,” the company said in a joint statement with the City.

The evaluation will determine the economic and technical viability of the switch and engage customers about how the conversion could be done. Essentially, LNG would be transported to Revelstoke from the Lower Mainland. In much the same way as the current propane system, LNG would be stored, then vapourized and piped into the system as needed.

“Bringing the benefits of natural gas to Revelstoke has been discussed for years, but connecting the community to existing gas lines simply wasn’t viable,” Doug Stout, FortisBC’s vice-president for market development said in the statement. “However, LNG has opened the door to powering remote communities with natural gas, and we believe Revelstoke may be a good fit. The proposed project is an example of the versatility of LNG and the positive impact it can have for communities in British Columbia.”

A conversion is expected to benefit the community through lower rates and access to natural gas efficiency programs.

“Many of us in Revelstoke are drawn here by the natural beauty and lifestyle of the area,” Mayor David Raven said in the statement. “To have natural gas powering Revelstoke would mean residents and businesses can reduce their carbon footprint. Having a cleaner-burning fuel that’s more affordable is a win-win for our community.”

Alan Smythe, operations manager at Downie Timber, said natural gas would have a positive impact on Downie Timber Ltd.

“We’re committed to responsible environmental stewardship and ongoing improvements and development of our manufacturing facilities,” he said in the statement. “FortisBC’s plan to bring natural gas to the community would help us with both of those goals.”

The statement said LNG is already being successfully used to power remote northern communities. For example, the town of Inuvik in the Northwest Territories has successfully converted their primary power-generating facility from diesel to LNG supplied from FortisBC’s Tilbury LNG facility.

Corporate Services Executive Dawn Levesque said, when asked why the City would issue a joint statement with a major corporation, that “this is an initiative that the city has actively been lobbying for many months; we are pleased that this lobbying has been effective.”