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Millar Western Forest Products Ltd. and Canfor (Whitecourt) Forest Products Ltd. Millar Western Pulp Industrial Complex Power Plant Alteration and Industrial System Designation, AUC Decision 28072-D01-2023

Link to Decision Summarized

Electricity – Facilities


Millar Western Forest Products Ltd. (“Millar Western”) applied for approval of a minor alteration to its existing biogas power plant. Millar Western and Canfor (Whitecourt) Forest Products Ltd. (“Canfor”) also applied for approval of an industrial system designation (“ISD”) that encompasses all electric facilities, including the biogas power plant at the existing Millar Western Pulp Industrial Complex (the “Power Plant”).


The AUC approved the applications from Millar Western and Canfor.

Applicable Legislation

Alberta Utilities Commission Act, SA 2007, c A-37.2 – s 17.

Hydro and Electric Energy Act, RSA 2000, c H-16 – ss 4, 11 and 12.

AUC Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations, Hydro Developments and Gas Utility Pipelines

Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, RSA 2000, c E-12.

Electric Utilities Act, SA 2003, c E-5.1.

Pertinent Issues

Millar Western applied to amend the existing power plant approval to reflect the 0.8-megawatt increase in the total nominal capacity of the Power Plant. The AUC was satisfied that the proposed changes are minor, no person is directly and adversely affected by the proposal and no significant adverse environmental impact would be caused by the alteration. The AUC, therefore, approved the alterations.

Plant Alterations

The Millar Western Pulp Industrial Complex (the “Complex”) consists of Millar Western’s pulp mill and existing biogas power plant, a sawmill sold to Canfor in 2022, and associated support activities for both operations. The electric facilities that serve the Complex include a power plant and 13.8-kilovolt cables, transformers, and circuit breakers. Millar Western and Canfor requested that the AUC issue an order designating the electric facilities at the Complex as an industrial system.

Industrial System Designation

The Complex is connected to the Alberta Integrated Electric System (“AIES”) through a substation within the site of the Complex. Millar Western and Canfor will continue to import electricity from the AIES to provide for approximately three percent of the load requirement of the Complex. The applicable wires tariff charges would also continue to be paid. The AUC was satisfied that the ISD would not be used to avoid system costs.

The AUC concluded that, taking into account the applicable principles and criteria for an ISD, Millar Western, and Canfor’s proposal substantially meets the principles and criteria for an ISD and that it demonstrates significant and sustained increased efficiency in the industrial operations. The AUC granted an ISD for the electric system at the Complex.

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