The carbon capture and storage demonstration project at the Boundary Dam Power Station (BDPS) remains on time, according to SaskPower president Robert Watson.
"As you're aware, we've had a lot of rain late in the spring, and in the last month, but it hasn't slowed construction down," said Watson. "The most important part was to get the super structure up (for the capture building), the stripper, which is the tall thing you can see coming out of the top of the building, and to get the building pretty well done."
Construction crews have been busy working on the interior of the carbon capture building, which is often referred to as the capture island. It's a towering structure near the main BDPS building.
The stripper arrived late last year to much fanfare, and it was installed in January. Since that time, crews have focused on the capture island, and they have been installing piping and smaller modules at the island.
"It'll have all the stuff to capture the CO2 and to liquefy it," said Watson.
They have also been working on Unit 3 at the Boundary Dam Power Station to prepare it for the installation of a brand new carbon capture turbine. The turbine itself is currently being developed by Hitachi. It's not expected to be ready until the middle of next year.
There are about 300 contractors on the site right now. That number will swell to about 600 next year.
Watson said SaskPower hasn't had trouble finding accommodations for the extra workers, despite Estevan's housing crisis.
"We have some camps, and we're going to set up some more camps to take care of the temporary influx," said Watson. "We are having trouble finding accommodations for permanent employees to move down there and to live in the Estevan area. There's just no housing available for them."
The contractors also haven't had trouble finding a sufficient number of people to come in and work on the project.
Watson said they have several parties who are interested in purchasing the captured carbon, which will be used in enhanced oil recovery. Nothing is ready to be announced just yet, but Watson is optimistic that there will be an announcement soon.
"We'd like to get it finalized, and get it so that we have an assurance of where the CO2 is going, and also, quite frankly, the people interested in buying it from us, they need to start planning ahead," said Watson. "We'll be working really hard over the next couple of months to get something formalized."
SaskPower is also working on a carbon capture test facility at the Shand Power Station. They expect it will be operating by 2015. Work is currently underway on the final designs.
"We're going to start getting the site ready really soon," said Watson. "We have to have the site ready by 2015."
It will take at least two years to get the test facility ready. There'll be an influx of workers for a couple years during construction. Shand will see an increase in the number of permanent employees once the project is finished.
Manufacturers from around the world will be able to come and test their carbon capture technology at the test facility.
"They'll be able to insert the technology into a cylinder … and verify their testing technology, their success rates and the dynamics of what happened," said Watson. "After a year of testing, somebody else will come in and test their product for a year." Corporations from around the world have expressed an interest in the test facility, Watson said. Coupled with the interest shown in Boundary Dam, there are a lot of people interested in what is happening in Estevan.
Also, a major renovation has been taking place at the boiler at the Shand Power Station. The work was scheduled long before the test facility was announced.
"It's part of the normal maintenance sequence," said Watson. "Every once in a while, you have to go inside and clean it out and make sure everything's done."
The boiler work is expected to be finished in early July.