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50 Years of

POWER Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Boundary Dam Power Station A supplement to:

Covering the Energy City for 107 years

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I extend my congratulations and best wishes to SaskPower Boundary Dam, its staff and employees on 50 years of most excellent service to our province and Estevan and area in particular. Boundary Dam is a fixture to Estevan providing a sound economic base and at the same time exhibiting exceptional community involvement and outreach. Most important of all are the many employees of Boundary Dam, many of whom have invested much of their lives ensuring the continued provision of reliable power. To them I wish to extend a special thank you. Congratulations and best wishes on a successful 50th anniversary celebration!

Ed Komarnicki Member of Parliament Souris-Moose Mountain

Saskatchewan is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Boundary Dam Power Station, and its history of providing safe and reliable power to our growing province. At Boundary Dam, SaskPower is leading the development of one of the world’s first and largest integrated clean coal/ carbon capture and sequestration demonstration projects at this facility. The project’s potential is very exciting for the Estevan area and the province as a whole, and confirms the significant value of Boundary Dam in contributing to Saskatchewan’s bright future.

Doreen Eagles – MLA Estevan

It is rather interesting that Sask Power is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Boundary Dam Power Station. As a youngster living in Torquay we used to go past this area as we came into Estevan weekly or more often. It obviously made quite an impression on a 11 year old kid. Sometime after that I toured the facility and was even more impressed by this state of the art station. Of course, when I first toured the facility it was much smaller than it is now. I am still impressed by this modern day landmark. For all of these years it has worked day and night to provide a good portion of the province with electricity. We do not appreciate this convenience until we have a power outage. Obviously, they occur far less often than years ago. Possible plans to work toward making our coal fired power plants more environmentally friendly should be welcomed by all of us. That will allow the 200+ years of coal that we have in this area to be used to provide efficient, relatively inexpensive, dependable power far into the future. I would like to congratulate everyone who works in the corporation and especially all of the workers who work at Boundary Dam or who have worked there in the past for their contributions to the success of this facility. Our whole city is proud of this facility. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Gary St.Onge – Mayor of Estevan

50 Anniversary th

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A rich history of power production from the Energy City By Norm Park Of The Mercury The icon of Estevan, the edifice that does the best job of telling the world what Estevan and area is all about, can be found four miles south of the city, just six miles from the international border, right next to Long Creek. Boundary Dam Power Station began modestly enough in 1960 when it was brought on line on May 14 following four years of planning and construction. Total construction cost ‌ $27 million. The power station, named after the earth-filled dam that was constructed to hold water from Long Creek and the Souris River to serve as coolant for the station, began its historical run of power production by churning out 62 megawatts of power from a single power turbine. Unit 1 was joined by a second the very next year, doubling the power production capacity. Producing power and, in fact, sharing it with others, was certainly not new for the Energy City. Beginning as early as 1908, the name of Estevan was linked to electrical production. Mind you, that beginning was very modest since the power plant that was constructed was intended to supply electricity only for the community that barely registered a few hundred residents at the time. The privately held utility, known as the Cellarton and Skinner Plant, did the job of providing this luxury product for the excited townspeople, just three years after Saskatchewan became an official province. It brought an air of sophistication to this pioneer community that was also welcoming the first rail line into the village. Municipal ownership of a power plant, complete with local infrastructure came two years later with the construction of a 300 kilowatt steam plant, just north of the old railway station which was situated close to what is now Sixth Street and Souris Avenue. An expansion of the local population meant that a new municipal power plant had to be planned and built beginning in the mid1920s and by 1927 the local water and fuel supply had become a problem for the existing location so the new plant, situated at the junction of the Souris River Continued on page 4

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Page 4 BOUNDARY DAM POWER STATION 50TH ANNIVERSARY, MAY 12, 2010 sent down a southeast line Continued from page 3 to Oxbow. and Long Creek was put It was less than 18 into service, with a capacity years later when the Doof 850 kilowatts. The new minion plant was purchased plant, the records show, was by the provincial Saskatchsnakebitten. Suffering from ewan Power Commission. a lack of experience in han- That process took place dling automatic stokers that shortly after the end of the were burning lignite coal, Second World War. The the community was having sale was completed in 1946 a difficult time maintain- and plans were immediately ing its power plant, so in put in place for another big 1928 the Dominion Elec- expansion. A new building tric Company purchased it was constructed in 1947 for from the Town of Estevan the installation of a 5,000 and then built another unit kilowatt turbo-generator two miles down river from and an 80,000 pounds-perthe existing one. This plant hour steam boiler. was capable of producing In 1948 the new plant 2,750 kilowatts and the grid was put into service and a system was expanded to high voltage transmission serve the nearby communi- line was completed between ties of Taylorton, Bienfait Estevan and Yorkton and and Roche Percee. There the concept of producing was even a small amount power from larger regional of the production that was areas was introduced. The An exterior shot of the construction of Unit 4 at BDPS as it was taking place in circa 1969-70. Continued on page 5 (Photo courtesy SaskPower archives)


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Continued from page 4 modest grid that linked Estevan, Bienfait, Roche Percee and Oxbow was now rolling out to Yorkton and points in between. Two years later an additional 100,000 poundsper-hour boiler was added and 1951 saw the addition of a 15,000 kilowatt steam turbo-generator in space that had been set aside for it when the new plant was built in that 1947-48 construction phase. The power plant received an extension in 1953 and a new boiler, with twice the pressure of the previous units, was pressed into service before the end of the year. A new 20,000 kilowatt generator was put in service in 1954 and another 30,000 unit was ordered and expected to be delivered by 1956 along with another 200,000 pound-per-hour steam boiler. By this time, a third extension of the plant was necessary to house another 80,000 kilowatt unit which was commissioned in 1957, bringing that original 1947-48 plant’s capacity up to 72,000 kilowatts. In the meantime and in the background, the master planners were already at the drawing boards . As early as 1956 they were plotting and planning for a second major power generating station to be built in this area. The new station, to be placed at the newly constructed Boundary Dam, would provide an additional 132,000 kilowatts of power, giving the area a total capacity of 204,000 kilowatts. And as history now

The construction of Boundary Dam was a massive effort requiring hundreds of workers in various trades. (Photo courtesy of SaskPower archives) records, Boundary Dam Power Station came on stream on May 14 of 1960 with the new electrical power measurement of 62 megawatts, followed by the planned Unit 2 the very next year. Unit 3 came into use in 1969 and Unit 4 was right behind it the follow-

ing year. The final two units, Unit 5 and 6 were commissioned in 1973 and 1976 bringing the total capacity of the Boundary Dam Power Station to 890 megawatts . Last year Boundary Dam produced a total of 6,804 gigawatt hours of electricity.

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1,000 see plant officially commissioned From the Thursday, May 19, 1960 edition of The Estevan Mercury By DICK WOOD Mercury News Editor Shortly after two o’clock Saturday afternoon, as a shrieking 40-miles-anhour wind filled the air with grey clouds of dust from the farm lands and coal fields surrounding the new multimillion dollar Boundary Dam generating station, General A.G.L. McNaughton closed a switch to “send out the electric power from this fine new thermal plant in the service of the people of Saskatchewan.” About 1,000 people were on hand to witness the official commissioning and to share the feelings of pride and satisfaction as expressed by various speakers. Premier T.C. Douglas, who unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion, said the plant would cause succeeding generations “to remember us as a people who planned well for the future ... who despite wind and dust and other adverse conditions which Saskatchewan people so hardy, had

the vision to build such a plant.” Mayor Harry Nicholson, welcoming visitors to Estevan, said that Boundary Dam was the realization of a project “first visualized 30 years ago.” Reeve Everett Murphy of the Rural Municipality of Estevan, in which the dam and plant are located, described the plant as a “monument to the Saskatchewan Power Corporation and the Saskatchewan government of their efforts to help the people of the province.” The occasion, said MLA Kim Thorson, would be recorded as an event equal in historic significance to the discovery just over 100 years ago of lignite coal in this area by the Palliser expedition. Industry Minister Russ Brown, who was chairman for the commissioning ceremonies, said: “This is a great day for the power corporation and all who have helped make this plant possible.” “Great Achievement” North Dakota Senator F.A. Winstrom, who brought greetings from Senator John Davis, viewed the plant as “another great

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developments of this area because of the availability of lignite. He commended the co-operation of Estevan during the period of plant construction. Estevan Chamber of Commerce president Lloyd Sillers extended greetings on behalf of that organization. Greetings were acknowledged from MP R.R. Southam who was unable to attend. For General McNaughton, chairman of the Canadian section of the International Joint Commission, the occasion meant the return to his native

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tist and native of Moosomin, paid tribute to several Saskatchewan men whose knowledge and assistance helped make the plant possible. He referred particularly to Dr. George Spence, former director of the commission and Mr. Justice Harold Pope, counsel for Saskatchewan before the commission “in the most acute period of the Souris Reference and to whose guidance I feel we owe the eventual solution of the difficulties in this, and in other problems as well.” Continued on Page 8

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achievement.” Continued friendship and mutual understanding between Canada and the United States would make further such projects possible. He referred to the lignite coal deposits of this area which the plant uses as “an economic resource of great value.” “This plant is part of the continuous development of the corporation,” said SPC general manager David Cass-Beggs, outlining the overall picture which includes hydro developments in the north and middle parts of the province and the thermal

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BOUNDARY DAM POWER STATION 50TH ANNIVERSARY, MAY 12, 2010 privilege you have ac- the Saskatchewan Power has blessed this region. breaker in the switchContinued from Page 7 corded me today to have Corporation, at your in“May I say that as yard closed to connect The IJC head also a part in the commis- stance, in order to turn a native of these parts, the 66,000 kW turbine acknowledged the “un- sioning of this magnifi- to advantage the large I count it an especially to the provincial system. derstanding co-opera- cent new thermal plant resources in lignite with great privilege now to A large meter behind tion which was extended built here at Estevan by which Divine Providence close this switch, and the platform showed the send out the electric power being delivered by to us by the chairman of power from this fine new the station. the United States section, plant in the service of Guests were taken on IJC, the late Hon. Dougthe people of Saskatch- tours of the plant and the las McKay, and his assoewan.” adjacent coal strip minciates.” Then as the former ing operations prior to Of the former govercommander of the Cana- the commissioning, and nor of Oregon, he said: dian Forces overseas dur- following the ceremonies “We always felt we had ing World War Two oper- public tours through the his sympathetic considated the switch, a circuit station were conducted eration for the needs of the people in the Souris River Basin where, on occasion, the waters are in very short supply.” “Two outstanding engineers,” were also commended by General McNaughton – Gordon MacKenzie, present director of the PFRA, and Milo Hoisveen of North Dakota, as well as Dr. Ken Tupper “who from his association with various manufacturing companies has had much to do with the effective design and construction of the thermal plant we are now commissioning.” “Sense of Honour” Of his own presence Operating a switch, above, is General A.G.L. Mcat the commissioning, Naughton, chairman of the section of internaGeneral Mc-Naughton re- tional joint commission, marking the official comferred to the “deep sense missioning of Boundary Dam Power Station on 1112 5th Street, Estevan of honour and apprecia- Saturday, May 14, 1960. tion which I take in the Mercury archive photo

for hundreds. The commissioning was the highlight of two days of activities and festivities to mark the occasion – receptions, dances, a breakfast, and a barbecue. Visitors came from several other provinces, the states of North Dakota and Montana, and other parts of Saskatchewan, to share the historic event with the people of the southeast.

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Boundary Dam facts and figures What it cost In 1960 dollar amounts, the Boundary Dam Power Station, housing for two units and including the cost of the switchyard and dam, cost a total of $27 million.

Fuel use Lignite coal from the local area was going to be used to fuel the new power plant back in 1960, just as it had before with the smaller power plants. It was estimated that around one million tons of coal per year would be required to operate the new plant. About 100,000 tons of lignite were available within a five mile radius of the plant with an average calorific value of 6,000 to 7,000 BTU per pound with a high moisture content of 30 to 35 per cent. Utility Coal tendered the successful bid to mine and supply the coal for the new plant. The coal would be hauled in 45-ton capacity trucks to a main hopper where conveyor belts would transfer the coal into the plant at a rate of 400 tons per hour if need be. In the plant, the coal would be crushed after being sampled and weighed. From bunkers the coal was pulverized and blown into the furnaces in a stream of pre-heated air. Ashes were removed hydraulically from the furnaces and the mixture of water and ash was pumped through a pipeline to an ash pond, south of the plant.

The Dam The earth-filled Boundary Dam, named for the fact that its reach ended at the U.S./Canada border, provided the cooling water for the first unit at Boundary Dam Power Station. The dam had a maximum height of 80 feet above the valley floor and was 1,050 feet in length. At opening it contained approximately 45,000 acre feet of water with a surface area of about 2,000 acres. A reinforced concrete spillway, 700 feet long and 140 feet wide, located on the east side of the dam was designed to handle the maximum probably flood discharge of 30,000 cubic feet of water per second. The main entrance to the plant is over the crest of the dam. A four-foot square concrete tunnel was also constructed through the dam base to permit passage of water from the reservoir directly into the bed of the stream to satisfy needs of downstream users.

Boilers and their use At the very beginning, Boundary Dam had two boilers standing 10 storeys high with each one capable of producing 300 tons of steam per hour. Steam would leave the boilers at a pressure of 875 psi. and a temperature of 915 degree F.

Turbo-generators The turbines and generators were joined in a composite unit. There were two of them in operation, each capable of generating 66,000 kilowatts of electricity. Both were supplied by C.W. Parsons Ltd. of Newcastle-on-Tyne in the United Kingdom. Each one weighed about 820 tons.

Switchyard at opening The switchyard in 1960 was divided into two sections. There was a 138,000 volt section and a 72,000 volt section covering two acres. A combination rigid bus and suspended cable feeder was used in the 138,000 volt section and a rigid two-inch copper tubular bus accommodated eight incoming and outgoing feeders at the initial stage. The 72,000 volt section used suspended aluminum cable which accommodated two outgoing lines.

The Plant itself The original Boundary Dam Power Station measured 275 feet by 200 feet. It rose 129 feet above ground level and measured 146 feet from the basement to top storey.

Recreation and resort possibilities Right from the start there were discussions held regarding the potential for resort development along the shores of the Boundary Dam Reservoir. Travel Minister Russ Brown, who was also the minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Power Corporation, said that SPC probably wouldn’t be the lead agency for such a development. He suggested that it would probably have to be the local Chamber of Commerce or some other organization although a recreation area near the plant itself has been considered by the corporation. Personnel from SPC were sent out to survey the shoreline with a view to organize an elaborate plan over the course of several years since it was believed the project would not be confined to just five or six acres but more along the lines of 300 to 600 acres. The problems attached to the proposal, Brown pointed out, would include water level fluctuations and whether or not the reservoir waters could be stocked with fish and whether or not fishing could be a sustainable sport. The effect on other wildlife was also a concern and Brown said there might be other “legal hitches” but in the grand scheme he said he felt that with co-operation something very worthwhile could be developed along Boundary Dam.

SaskPower today SaskPower currently serves more than 500,000 customers with $4.5 billion in assets and more than 2,600 permanent full-time employees in 71 communities. The assets include three coal-fired power stations, seven hydro-electric stations, four natural gas stations and two wind facilities that provide more than 3,200 megawatts. The company also has agreements to purchase electrical power on a contractual basis from a variety of companies. As of the end of 2008 that amounted to an additional generating capacity of 3,641 megawatts. The company also has more than 156,000 kilometres of power lines and 52 high voltage switching stations and 182 distribution substations that all help to deliver power to Saskatchewan homes and businesses. About three customers are supplied per circuit kilometre while in most of North America, about 12 customers are served over the same distance, outlining the fact once again that Saskatchewan has a large geographic reach with a still widelydispersed population.

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SaskPower president speaks out Optimistic about clean coal and future of BDPS If the acting president of SaskPower were a gambling man, he’d be laying some pretty strong odds on the corporation moving ahead with a clean coal carbon dioxide capture and sequestration project at Boundary Dam later this year. Garner Mitchell, who arrived in the president’s chair after coming up through the ranks on the operations side of the business, feels that Boundary Dam has plenty of life left in it. But with growing environmental concerns and global pressures

being applied on coal fueled power plants, it just seems inevitable that SaskPower is the chosen one that will take the whole industry into the next level. “Coal-fired plants are very cost effective,” said Mitchell when speaking with The Mercury in the conference room at Boundary Dam Power Station on April 29. Accompanied by John Lebersback, acting vicepresident of the power production business unit; Mike Zeleny, manager of Boundary Dam and Tim

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Schuster, manager of fuel supply, Mitchell spoke quite frankly about the future of BD and the overall outlook SaskPower was carrying into a new era of growth in electrical production to accommodate a huge new demand from a growing population and business/ industrial sector. “It’s a credit to the staff here now and in the past that this plant has done so well. In fact they had their most efficient operating year ever in 2009,” Mitchell said. Continued on Page 13

From the left: SaskPower acting president Garner Mitchell; acting vicepresident for power production, John Lebersback; manager of fuel supply, Tim Schuster and Boundary Dam Power Station manager Mike Zeleny.

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Continued from Page 12 “Coal-fueled power plants are still extremely important. They provide 30 per cent of the total power used in the province and Boundary is well maintained and operated.� But having just said that, Mitchell went on to note that times are changing and expectations are growing significantly from an environmental standpoint. What he found encouraging, was that SaskPower’s foray into capturing emissions is one that finds total approval on the political side which is very important for a Crown corporation. “We’re working with the province and the federal government so we will be in alignment with the rules that will be coming out from the United States,� said Mitchell. That means changes to the expectations that will soon become regulations regarding carbon dioxide emissions and what to do with them. When they come, all players will be on the same page. A refurbishment of Unit 3 at Boundary Dam will allow for a very efficient post-combustion capture of CO2. It will be the first commercial scale unit in the world if the proposed

plans are followed to bring the project on stream within the next four years. Mitchell pointed to the fact that a tender has already been awarded for the construction of a steam turbine, one of the major components. Plans have been drawn up for the additional space that will be required at Unit 3, and the company that will lead the charge on the technologicalfront, SNC Lavalin-Cansolve Ltd., has been selected from the short list of finalists, a decision that was made earlier this year. With all those pieces being assembled, it leaves little to wonder as to why Mitchell is betting on the project moving forward. Principal players such as Mike Monea, who is vice-president of the CO2 side of the project, who is seeking partnerships within the oil industry and around the globe to share in the various elements, including the purchase of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery, makes an even stronger case for the $1.4 billion program SaskPower is blessed with a variety of power production options from hydro to coal fueled, natural gas, wind and perhaps in the future, biomass and

BOUNDARY DAM POWER STATION 50TH ANNIVERSARY, MAY 12, 2010 Page 13 nuclear, Mitchell said. And pointed out that the quality the dividends go to sells and buys power that’s not forgetting other of the lignite fuel is as good shareholders or the Crown from the United States, options such as geothermal as its has ever been and Investments Corporation. Manitoba and to a lesser either. by working closely with A massive grid system extent, Alberta and there About 75 per cent Sherritt Coal, the fuel line in Saskatchewan is already is an interconnection with of all energy produced in is secure for a good time to in place, including the the eastern United States Canada is emission free, come. transmission lines out of and Canada. With all these thanks largely to a lot Even with private, Boundary Dam and nearby frequencies in harmony, the of hydro production in independent producers Shand. grid system provides some Eastern Canada. The goal coming on line in the future “SaskPower will keep assurances that when one is to increase that efficiency with natural gas fueled control of the grid and we are sector fails, the others fill rating to around 90 per plants (Northland Power interconnected throughout gaps. cent. Mitchell was also in central Saskatchewan), North America through the Boundary Dam’s Units Mitchell said the mandate North American Electricity willing to turn his attention 1 and 2 will probably see will remain the same ‌ Reliability Commission,â€? to the prospect of building an end to their usefulness to produce cost effective Mitchell said. Continued on Page 13 within the next four to five electrical power, whether That means SaskPower years. The nature of their construction would not allow them to be retrofitted for carbon capture like the units that were added later. Mitchell said one factor leaning in favour of this project is the fact that &DUVRQ(QHUJ\6HUYLFHV/WG the federal government is FRQJUDWXODWHVWKH not opposed to coal-fueled power plants and in fact, %RXQGDU\'DP3RZHU6WDWLRQ are supporting the Estevan RQ\HDUVRIVXFFHVVDQGLQQRYDWLRQ project with $240 million in funding. 0DNLQJKLVWRU\ZKLOHORRNLQJWRWKHIXWXUH The end game is that the “cost of electricity needs to be competitive, as good as &RYHULQJWKHZHVWHUQ&DQDGLDQHQHUJ\VHUYLFHVLQGXVWU\ZLWKORFDWLRQVLQ natural gas,â€? said Mitchell, noting also that natural gas ‡/DPSPDQ‡&DUO\OH‡$OLGD‡+DOEULWH‡(VWHYDQ‡5HJLQD costs have a tendency to ‡&DOJDU\‡6ZLIW&XUUHQW‡:KLWH&LW\‡(PHUDOG3DUN fluctuate over time while ‡/OR\GPLQVWHU‡$LUGULH‡:DLQZULJKW‡5HG'HHU coal costs remain relatively  stable in comparison. ZZZFDUVRQHQHUJ\VHUYLFHVFRP The near endless coal supply in southeast Saskatchewan bodes well for the project and Shuster

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Page 14

BOUNDARY DAM POWER STATION 50TH ANNIVERSARY, MAY 12, 2010 efficient manner. successfully,” said Zeleny Continued from Page 12 “With the transmission as the interview wound to a a future flex-plant at infrastructure already here, conclusion. Shand that would allow the let’s use it,” said Mitchell, Once the carbon capture world to come to Estevan pointing to the other important unit is built, it could result and area to test all types element after electricity is in a net increase in staffing of emission capturing produced … getting it to the of about 20 people, said technologies in a commercial customers. Zeleny. That would be after “You know, it can be scale environment. accounting for the shift in The idea has been trotted a good feeling to be on the personnel that would come out for about a year now leading edge of something with the decommissioning of and has gained the attention like we are here with Unit 3. Units 1 and 2. of the state of Montana that It’s one of the biggest projects “We have the basic has indicated they would in the world. Around here, skill set and talent here,” be willing to partner with using carbon dioxide as an said Mitchell, noting that he Saskatchewan on such a enhanced oil recovery agent had once been an employee project. The interested parties has been proven for what at Boundary and had been are now attempting to grab … over 10 years now, so we involved in the construction the attention of the federal know it works. Politicians are The potential Carbon Capture and Sequestration system is drawing interest of Unit 6. governments in both countries supportive, carbon capture from around the world. In September 2009, a delegation from Mexico toured “We have community can make economic sense as Boundary Dam to learn more about CCS. for additional support. acceptance here, which is “Shand has the space well as environmental sense huge. We see environmental to build it and it would be and everyone can make some responsible for keeping it is setting records for power activities and evolving regulations being the toughest valuable for the future,” said money here,” Mitchell added. going have been well trained production, Sherritt is setting synergies. ever, but we see that as With an experienced and proud of what they’ve records for coal production. Mitchell. “There’s lots of “We’re going to be doing an opportunity, not just a Boundary Dam employee done and are continuing to They had their second biggest all we can to make it happen challenge.” interest around the world.” As it stands now, the base of around 300 working do. The third factor was the year in that regard last year.” proposed Unit 3 refurbishment around the clock to provide prime technology that has The coal company is is the only project actually even more extension of been implemented over the now exploring new coal on the books and it still time between maintenance years in the maintenance of seams around the Roche doesn’t have the official shutdowns, the efficiency the plant. Percee region and new seams green light from SaskPower factors at BD have never been “That means they can are providing new challenges, administration, the board better. schedule an overhaul every but the heating quality of the Lebersback noted that two years now, instead of coal is as good or better than of directors, the minister responsible and the provincial SaskPower management and every year. That means a pretty existing sources. government, but that could administration have made low turnover in employees. In So while Doug Daverne, come as early as this year … the commitment to re-invest many respects the people here manager for the clean coal although most likely near the in Boundary Dam, keeping it look at one another as part of a project in SaskPower ,moves relevant and efficient for over family and see BD as a pretty the overall program forward, end of the year. If Unit 3 gets approved 50 years. good place to work. Sherritt Mitchell and others at Hitachi He said the other major sees what’s going on and (new turbine), SNC LavalinDivision of Sonepar Distribution Inc. and proves to work, then Unit 4 and subsequently factor working in its favour they’re interested in doing a Cansolve Ltd., StanTec Box 1518, 101 6th Street Units 5 and 6 would probably is the actual processes used good job, and mining around Engineering, who serve as Estevan, Saskatchewan S4A 2L7 be rolled out over a period and the human resources … here is pretty challenging, but consultants on the project, Tel: (306) 634-8655 Fax: (306) 634-8028 of time in an increasingly the people who have been they get it done. So while BD are all banking on increasing

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Page 15

50 years later BDPS still going strong By Chad Saxon Of The Mercury Much like a fine wine, it appears the Boundary Dam Power Station is getting better with age. Fifty years since Unit 1 officially came on-line, BDPS is not only still in operation, it remains as one of the most important power generation facilities in the SaskPower fleet. Now six units strong, Boundary Dam is responsible for 30 per cent of Saskatchewan’s power supply and continues to provide the province with a relatively cheap and reliable source of electricity. Not too bad for an old girl. Of course getting to the 50-year mark doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work and commitment from a lot of people. Boundary has been blessed to have a talented cast of employees both in the plant and in management. The man currently leading the charge has seen the power station from both sides of that spectrum. Mike Zeleny, who took over as manager in 2005, has been with SaskPower since the

1970s. After first working at the Estevan Generating Station, Zeleny has spent the majority of his career at Boundary Dam. In his current role, Zeleny is tasked with overseeing 300 employees and making sure the plant runs at maximum efficiency, despite its advancing age. Zeleny admitted the job is a challenge and requires attention 365 days a year. “A coal-fired power plant is a complex place and there are a lot of activities that go into making sure that the plant is running reliably day in day out,” he said. “Some parts of the plant are 50-years-old, the old units are 50-years-old, so just like any piece of equipment, the older it gets, there are more challenges in keeping it running. On the other side of that, SaskPower has recognized that coal-fired plants provide a very reliable and very costeffective baseload generation for the province so a lot of capital expenditures have gone into the plant.” Zeleny said among the many challenges the staff at BDPS face on a daily basis

Mike Zeleny

Boundary Dam Power Station On 50 Years Serving Our Community!

is dealing with the erosion that occurs in their boilers during the power generation process. “As the units get older there is a lot of wear and tear. When you burn coal there is a lot of erosion inside the boilers. It is a constant effort to maintain the boilers to make sure you don’t have leaks and make sure you can run reliably. “It used to be that everybody geared up to make sure you ran reliably just through the winter, but now that has evolved in the last 10 years because we are relied upon year round and some of the summer loads are almost as high as the winter loads now. So we are tasked with making sure that we keep ahead of all those erosion processes that are going on, and not only that but maintaining all the equipment because as I said, as units get older it takes a bigger effort to maintain.” To the credit of all involved at the Boundary Dam, the plant is not simply continuing to operate, it is setting new records. Acting SaskPower president Garner Mitchell said 2009 was the best year

in Boundary Dam’s history in terms of overall performance and efficiency. “The plant performed better than it’s ever performed in its 50-year history,” said Mitchell who is a former Boundary Dam employee himself. “It’s a real credit to Mike and the workforce here. It’s a real source of pride.” Zeleny said there are numerous reasons for the success in 2009, in particular the changes in maintenance techniques that have been made over the years. “It takes a huge effort by all the folks in this plant to make something like that happen,” said Zeleny. “For quite a few years now we have been enhancing our maintenance processes and our operational processes to do a couple things — one, be more reliable and two, produce more energy because it is a low cost form of energy for SaskPower. We have actually extended the run times on all the units between major maintenance outages and that process has taken a lot of effort to try and figure out all the obstacles to making that happen. But over Continued on page 16

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Page 16 BOUNDARY DAM POWER STATION 50TH ANNIVERSARY, MAY 12, 2010 reliability on the boilers. to run these units for 21 to their job. While they have Continued from page 15 the last five years we have The biggest obstacle to run- 24 months without a lot of obviously been successful, the older the equipment been able to do that albeit ning reliably in this build- outages.” To accomplish that gets, the harder their job ing is keeping the boilers with an aging plant so I am task, Zeleny says the staff gets. running. They look at a actually pretty proud of all at Boundary Dam has been “As the units get oldtremendous amount of heat the folks out there. and erosion from the fl yash. forced to get creative and er, there is only so far you “The biggest problem They had to fi gure out how fi nd new ways of doing can go with those types of that we have is maintaining

strategies because you still have to maintain reliability, so you can’t go to far” he said. “We are feeling our way along, improving our processes and as we’ve run into a few challenges we have tried to resolve them

and move on. I was actually pretty happy with last year. We created a record amount of power and had a record reliability factor. Last year we created about 6,350 gigawatt hours of electricContinued on page 17

The Boundary Dam Power Station has hosted a number of dignitaries over its 50 years. In 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Brad Wall were given a tour by Plant Manager Mike Zeleny (right).

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Continued from page 16 ity and the availability factor of all the units was 92.5 per cent.” Looking to the future, Zeleny said this is an interesting and exciting time for everyone at Boundary Dam. While Units 1 and 2 are coming to the end of their lifespan, there is a sense of renewal at the plant with the prospect of the carbon sequestration project on Unit 3 still floating in the air. It’s expected a decision on whether or not to

move ahead, with clean coal will be made later this year and Mitchell, in an interview with The Mercury, said he thinks the project will get the green light. “I get questions almost every time I go into the plant about whether or not I think it is going to happen and what it means for individuals in the plant,” Zeleny said. “I get people asking all the time if clean coal goes ahead, can they be part of it. That is great stuff because one of the

BOUNDARY DAM POWER STATION 50TH ANNIVERSARY, MAY 12, 2010 things we have said since ahead it will require some day one when we started new training and expertalking about a potential tise in the plant. “A carbon capture clean coal project was if the decision was the facility is something toright one for SaskPower. tally unlike anything we At Boundary Dam, we have ever tried to operwill do everything in our ate within SaskPower, power to make it happen let alone Boundary Dam. successfully. I have a lot There will be some more of faith in the people and training and some diftheir skills and their en- ferent equipment in the ergy and their enthusiasm facility that we will have to be able to make it hap- to train folks how to operate. There will also be a pen.” Although many of different outlook on what the basic fundamentals type of people you’ll need are the same, Zeleny not- to run the carbon capture ed that if clean coal goes facility.”

Page 17

CONGRATULATIONS BOUNDARY DAM for outstanding Service to Southeast Saskatchewan From all the staff at

VARSTEEL P.O. Box 1337, Hwy 39 E Estevan, SK


Getting In On The Ground Floor

Please Recycle this Newspaper

This photo shows the early stages of construction on the Boundary Dam Power Station. (Photo from SaskPower archives)

Congratulations SaskPower on the 50th Anniversary of Boundary Dam Power Station!

Thank you Estevan

SaskPower has been an integral part of our community for the last 50 years as we move into the CO2 Sequestration age, we look forward to Boundary Dam Power Station being here another 50 years.

SaskPower’s Boundary Dam Power Station and its employees have felt right at home here for a very long time.

Thank you for your contribution to the community.

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As Boundary Dam Power Station marks its 50th year of operation, we look forward to many more years of being a part of this thriving community.

Page 18


Acknowledgements The staff of the Estevan Mercury would like to thank SaskPower for their help in the creation of the 50th anniversary issue. In particular, James Parker who provided us with the archive photos and the information for the facts and figures section and Barb Gessner who supplied the various photos of the power station.

We Proudly Congratulate Boundary Dam on 50 Years of Service Big or small, we Àx them all including Windows, MacOS and Linux systems and networks.

Stacking Up

Construction crews work on one of the smoke stacks during the creation of the Boundary Dam Power Station. (Photo courtesy of SaskPower archives.)

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Page 20


Congratulations Celebrating the energy between us

Sherritt Coal has proudly fuelled the success of the Boundary Dam Power Station over the years.

Congratulations on your 50th Anniversary! We look forward to a bright future together.

Boundary Dam/Bienfait Mine

Boundary Dam 50th Anniversary  

Boundary Dam 50th Anniversary

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