Unit 3 returns to service; CCS process resumes

Unit 3 at the Boundary Dam Power Station has returned to service, nearly three months after a severe thunderstorm knocked it offline.

And now that Unit 3 is back, the carbon capture and storage facility at Boundary Dam is also functioning, since Unit 3 needs to be operating for the CCS facility to work.

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SaskPower announced on Thursday morning that Unit 3 was online, after weeks of precision repairs to fix the damage to the turbine from June's storm. Unit 3 resumed generating power on Sept. 3.

The CCS facility was successfully brought online shortly after. On Sept. 4, start-up of the CO2 compressor began and CO2 is now being delivered to Whitecap Resources for enhanced oil recovery.

“For the past month or so, we’ve been saying that this is the timeline that we were working towards, and I know that as those parts started coming in over the course of the last month, we had crews working … shifts around the clock, pulling in different workers from other plants to get this back up and running as quickly and safely as possible,” said Jordan Jackle, an issues management and media relations consultant at SaskPower.

Jackle isn’t aware of any issues that occurred at Unit 3 or the CCS facility once they were powered up last week.

“We fired everything back up, in the general way that we do when either the power unit or the CCS unit is down, and everything is back up and running again,” said Jackle.

The massive parts that needed repair went as far as Savannah, Georgia, and some of the work was so precise it needed to be completed within less than a millimetre.

“It was quite the undertaking and we are glad that it is now back up and running,” said Jackle.

The fact that the repairs were made in the summer months, when many people are on holidays, likely didn’t slow down the amount of time needed to get the unit up and running again.

“This is a very large piece of machinery that requires a lot of care when you’re transporting it and when you’re taking it apart, and so it took a good while to actually get things taken apart to even see what the problem was and then diagnose it, and then make a plan for repair.”

Jackle reiterated previous statements from SaskPower that there isn’t anything in the Unit 3 turbine that makes it more susceptible to significant damage like what was caused by the thunderstorm on June 14.

“It was a very significant storm that did significant damage to the transmission lines … and the damage was pretty incredible,” said Jackle. “Every unit tripped off, and (as far as) really pinpointing why, we’re still working on that. What we do know is that it was damaged significantly.”

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