Alberta Newsprint Company (ANC), in Alberta, Canada, produces cost-effective newsprint with a lean workforce of 185 employees. But with the rise of the Internet, demand for newsprint has decreased, forcing once thriving mills to close down. In order to remain viable, ANC has adopted a diversified strategy to ensure its standing as a leading producer of high-quality newsprint. In 2014 they commissioned a 65 MW natural gas-fired power plant, powered by 10 Cat® G16CM34 generator sets, this capacity represents more than half of ANC’s overall 125 MW power consumption.
ANC’s decision to build its own power plant was driven by the rising cost of power from the grid. The Cat power plant runs about 25 percent of the time, ramping up quickly to meet demand. When the price of power is high, the mill uses less power from the grid and excess power generated onsite is sold back to the grid at the higher price, netting ANC a profit. The engines start and ramp very fast, so when grid prices are high they can get on and off the grid very quickly and several times during the day.
With more wind and solar energy coming online, Caterpillar also addresses the addition of renewable power and the fluctuating loads they add to the power pool. The GCM34 engine technology represents a very efficient and effective solution to offset swings from renewable sources.