NEW ANNAN — Cavendish Farms celebrated the official opening of its natural gas receiving station at a ceremony held at the New Annan site today.
The successful implementation of the leading-edge natural gas system generates thermal energy which fuels the company's potato processing plants and eliminates the use of 22 million litres of heavy fuel oil annually.
"Cavendish Farms is making huge strides in the area of sustainability and our move into the compressed natural gas arena supports our continued efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of our operations in Prince Edward Island," said Robert Irving, president of Cavendish Farms.
"Our fuel mix in New Annan is now 70 per cent natural gas and 30 per cent biogas, with heavy oil now only used as a back-up fuel source. Combined with our investment in our biogas facility, we've now achieved a net reduction of 50 per cent in our greenhouse gas emissions."
Irving said the company appreciates the province's support of the investment in cleaner air and energy efficiency with a repayable loan of $15 million for a five-year term.
"Converting to natural gas dramatically cuts our carbon footprint, reduces our energy costs and improves our competitive position. Ultimately, that means stable manufacturing jobs and improved growth prospects here in Prince Edward Island."
Premier Robert Ghiz applauded the company's investment and the creation of nine new jobs to date associated with the project.
"Cavendish Farms is known for being a respected and valued contributor to this community and to the Island's economy, and this is another example of their innovation and leadership," the premier said. "This initiative alone reduces the province's CO2 emissions by one per cent, the equivalent of taking 4,200 cars off the road. We are pleased to have supported Cavendish Farms in making this investment."
Island Gas, an affiliated company of Cavendish Farms, is the only CNG truck delivery operation in Atlantic Canada. Using a fleet of 11 specially engineered trailers built to safely move compressed natural gas, the company moves an average of 12 truckloads per day, around the clock. The gas is taken from the company's transfer station in Baie Verte (N.B.) on the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. The fuel is then compressed prior to delivery to New Annan.
Construction began in July 2011 and generated just under 30,000 person-hours of work during the construction period. The company took its first delivery in December 2011.
Island Gas has an application before the Island regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) to become a fully licensed bulk CNG distributor with the infrastructure and personnel to potentially serve other customers on the Island and provide other businesses with the benefits of a cheaper and more environmentally-friendly fuel.