VANCOUVER, B.C. - Despite substantial upgrades already underway at the Okanagan Pellet Co. plant, Viridis Energy Inc. announced it will cease operations at the West Kelowna, British Columbia, facility. Viridis cited recently discovered structural concerns, new storage and wood dust management requirements and associated costs for the decision to shutter the biomass operation.
In an April 5 statement, the Vancouver, B.C.-based Viridis said it "has determined that such expenditures are not economically feasible in the current market environment." Viridis said it will work with creditors on options for OPC, including a potential sale or joint venture, liquidation or relocation of the facility.
Upgrades on the OPC facility began in July 2015 to ensure the plant complied with National Fire Protection Association and BC Fire Safety codes, and to address the new regulatory requirements for safe storage and management of wood pellets. The company had obtained a $875,000 loan from the Royal Bank of Canada to fund the first two phases of what was to be a three-phase, one to two-year project. According to Viridis' website, the OPC facility had an annual production of more than 60,000 tons of premium softwood pellets made from spruce, pine and fir.
Viridis acquired the OPC plant in April 2010. A publicly traded Cleantech manufacturer and distributor of renewable energy, Viridis Energy (VRD.V) (TSXV:VRD) also operates Scotia Atlantic Biomass Co. Ltd. in Nova Scotia and Viridis Merchants Inc. in New Jersey, with more than 300,000 tons of trading and manufactured capacity on both coasts of North America.
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