Sault Ste. Marie is the Alternative Energy Capital of North America. The moniker is based on the wide-range of energy projects operating or underway in the community. They include:
Sault Ste. Marie is home to the Prince Wind Farm, one of the largest wind energy farms in Canada. The site's 126 turbines can produce 189 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to power about 60,000 homes or roughly two cities the size of Sault Ste. Marie.
There are five hydroelectric stations in the Sault Ste. Marie area that generate a total of 203 megawatts of renewable energy. The nearby Wawa area generates an additional 196 megawatts.
The Elementa Group has established a demonstration facility at the city landfill site and is conducting research with respect to converting municipal garbage into clean energy using a patented "Steam Reformation" process. The technology vaporizes solid waste into a synthetic gas, similar to natural gas, which can be used for power generation.
Essar Steel Algoma, one of the Sault's largest employers, began a cogeneration power project that utilizes excess gas from the steelmaking process. The $135-million initiative produces 70 megawatts of electricity and reduces the company's reliance on the power grid by an average of 50%.
Sault Ste. Marie is home to Starwood Energy Group, which has established a 60 megawatt solar farms project, the second largest in North America. The sites generate enough electricity to power about 24,000 homes. The city is also home to Heliene Canada, which recently established a photovoltaic solar panel manufacturing facility.
Using "Reverse Polymerization" technology, Ellsin Environmental has established a pilot tire recycling plant that breaks down old tires into their original parts: steel, oil and carbon black. Separated, each is valuable and can be reused for a variety of purposes, including power generation.
Brookfield Power operates a 110-megawatt cogeneration plant in Sault Ste. Marie. The facility consists of two 40-megawatt natural gas turbines and one 30-megawatt steam turbine.
Biodiesel and Fibre Crop
Sault Ste. Marie-based SITTM Technologies is working to produce biodiesel from various feedstock, including used vegetable oil. Other players, including the City, are looking to develop a fibre crop industry by growing sunflowers and other plants to extract oil and generate electricity.
The City of Sault Ste. Marie is actively collecting methane gas from its landfill site. The local PUC is now looking at the feasibility of using the gas to generate about 1.6 megawatts of electricity.