Petawawa Renewable Power Corporation (Petawawa) is a Dufferin County-based developer that has been active for nearly 8 years in the development of renewable energy projects in Ontario. Petawawa started in wind energy and diversified into the solar energy business, with four solar projects presently under development in partnership with international engineering companies. Petawawa is currently exploring new bioenergy opportunities.
Mark Bell, Executive Director of Petawawa, has been in the project development business since 1990. As an environmentalist with a financial background, he spent time in Europe developing sustainability projects before returning to Canada to pursue wind and solar developments with Petawawa. Petawawa is a small, nimble renewable energy project development company that takes pride in partnering with landowners and the local community, working in cooperation with community officials, First Nations and other stakeholder groups to maximize the benefits and success of each project they undertake. Petawawa collaborates with engineering partners and equipment vendors to arrange projects, financing, construction, and for long-term ownership and operation of the project.
Petawawa has several biogas projects under development in Ontario near the highway 401/400 corridor. These locations were strategically selected to account for the raw material needs for the projects as organic residuals will come from larger population centres and Petawawa wants to ensure the transportation requirements are reasonable. The feedstock for the projects will be a combination of source separated organics, commercial industrial food waste materials, and a blend of agricultural materials such as silage, stover, culled material from vegetable and tuber crops, and animal manure. Each project is sized to process approximately 50,000 tonnes of raw material annually. The goal of the biogas projects is to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) for grid injections and for fleets interested in fuelling with CNG/RNG.
Bell feels that the outlook for the biogas industry is very positive, especially with the opportunity to produce RNG. As there is not currently a demand for green electricity in Ontario, greening the natural gas grid with RNG is a good option to reduce the carbon intensity of household heating requirements and transportation. Bell comments that “We have a wonderful opportunity with RNG to blend into existing natural gas system without any requirement to upgrade the pipeline or new transmission lines”. Bell shares that Petawawa chooses to concentrate its projects in Ontario because it’s the largest market in Canada and as new legislation appears federally and provincially there will be more opportunities for development in the bioenergy markets.
Petawawa became a member of the Canadian Biogas Association (CBA) in December 2016 to support the development of the biogas market in Canada and to gain an understanding of the fast-moving regulatory climate. “As a small development company, we don’t have the resources to keep up on policy developments, and the CBA is a great one stop shop to what is happening in the Ontario market and across North America.”