Cascades launches an important… solar energy project!

A renewable energy project will be carried out in Kingsey Falls in the coming months.

Yesterday we announced a major renewable energy project that we have been working on for several months with Rackam: construction of a solar power plant. This innovative project will supply power to the Cascades industrial complex in Kingsey Falls, allowing us to reduce our consumption of natural gas.

Future infrastructure

The project, expected to be completed by the end of this summer, includes a powerful, ground-installed concentrated solar power system that will be used to produce the hot water and steam required by our industrial complex in Kingsey Falls. We are very proud to say that this is a world premiere in the pulp and paper industry!

The equipment includes a network of dish concentrators which, when pointed towards the sun, concentrate the sun’s rays on a target in order to increase temperature. The target is a vacuum tube carrying a heat transfer fluid, which is heated and then used to transfer the captured. The system is designed to resist bad weather such as rain, snow and strong winds.

Rackam pushing the limits

The small Sherbrooke-based company is going the extra mile by creating this project with us. The concentrators that will be used are twice as big as those previously created by Rackam. These new-generation collectors are both more powerful and more economical and also specifically designed for installation on the ground.

More project details
  • The 1,490 m2 concentrated solar power (CSP) system will be installed on a 4,000 m2 lot.
  • It is a $1,073,830 project, including a $463,500 grant from Quebec’s department of energy and natural resources and a $76,000 grant from Gaz Métro.
  • When complete, the installation will produce more than 4,440 GJ/year that will be used to raise the temperature of 87,500 m3 of pressurized water from 106°C to 118°C yearly.
  • The installation will generate yearly savings of 139,700 m3 of natural gas.
  • Less natural gas will also mean fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with reductions of more than 265 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, or 5,300 tonnes of CO2 over 20 years.

Once again, Cascades is a sustainable development pioneer. Our company is already two times more energy efficient than the Canadian pulp and paper industry average. The project, which was launched in collaboration with a partner from the region, will allow us to still further reduce the environmental impact of our activities, in addition to reducing our natural gas bill.

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About the Author
Mario Plourde

Mario Plourde was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Cascades Inc. in May of 2013. He leads the management teams responsible for the operations and business units of Cascades' three major divisions (Tissue Group, Norampac and Specialty Products Group). Mario holds a bachelor's degree in business administration, with a major in finance from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). He is a skiing and cycling enthusiast. Mario joined Cascades in 1985 and has held the positions of Controller, Plant Manager and General Manager. In 1997, Mr. Plourde was named Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of the Specialty Products Group and then became its President from 2000 to 2010. In 2011, he was named Chief Operating Officer of Cascades Inc. In addition to his numerous responsibilities at Cascades, Mario is also a member of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association and also participates in fund raising for Centraide and the Fondation Charles-Bruneau. He is also a member of UQAM's Counsel Group.

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  1. Brian Collins at 8:04 pm

    4400 GJs/year * $5.28/GJ = $23,232. So the project is costing Cascades $534,330. This gives a payback period of 23 years, or 46 years if we include the all in cost of over a million. If we add maintenance costs over that time period and degradation of the reflective surfaces there is no way this project will save Cascades anything.

    This is a complete waste of money, especially when I’m sure there are projects with better economic and environmental savings within the mill.

    This is just an expensive PR exercise.

    • Mario Plourde
      Mario Plourde Author at 8:02 pm

      Hello, Mr. Collins.
      In reality, the calculations are a little more complex than the ones you have mentioned. We have studied the project thoroughly and we are convinced of its profitability. Beyond the numbers, our Company is committed to innovating in the pulp and paper industry, as well as using renewable energy. For 50 years now, Cascades has stood out for its work in sustainable development, and this project is a good example.

      • Brian Collins at 2:12 am

        Thanks for the response Mr. Plourde,

        Of course the calculations are much more complex than I stated, but I don’t believe that I am an order of magnitude off based on the publicly available information. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this project, but firmly believe that there are projects available to Cascades that will save more energy for a similar amount of capital deployed, better meeting Cascades goal of reduction in energy usage and targeted return on capital of 6%.

        Cascades’ history of, and continuing sustainable development and environmental performance is to be applauded and something the entire industry can aspire to, but I’m just not convinced on this specific one.

        • Mario Plourde
          Mario Plourde Author at 8:11 pm

          Good day, Mr. Collins:
          Thank you for your interest in our solar power plant initiative. It is, in fact, just one of several projects designed to help Cascades achieve specific energy consumption reduction goals by the year 2015. We invite you to review our plans for sustainable development by clicking here: