On March 17, 2015 I was able to take a tour of the brand new Shepard Energy Centre located in east Calgary, which is a joint venture between ENMAX and Capital Power. It’s a fantastic project that brings Alberta one step closer in the transition away from coal-fired plants to something more sustainable. Shepard is fueled by natural gas and uses two enormous combustion turbines to produce electricity, and then uses a steam turbine to harness the waste heat and create even more electricity! This set-up makes the plant 30 per cent more efficient than the old coal generation facilities, and it emits less than half of the CO2 gases per megawatt hour, not to mention the reduced output of other greenhouse gases as well.
The scale of this project is amazing. It may be hard to tell from my photos, but it’s all so massive! Each of the the natural gas fuelled turbines weighs 334,000kg, which is just over four times the maximum allowable takeoff weight of a 737 airplane. The main building contains 24km of pipe, 149km of power cable, and 278km of control cable and was build using 4400 tonnes of structural steel and 20,000 cubic metre of concrete.
The wastewater used to cool the system and fuel the steam turbine comes from the Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant through 14km of pipes laid underneath the city, including under the Bow River and Deerfoot Trail. When the Shepard plant is at full capacity 14 million litres of reclaimed water will course through the system every single day! This is the first time wastewater has been used in Alberta for the production of electricity and I’m delighted to see us moving towards a more sustainable and efficient way to power our growing city.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.