All of our oil sands facilities use cogeneration which is a natural gas-fueled process that produces both industrial steam and electricity. Cogeneration has the lowest GHG emissions of hydrocarbon-based power generation.
Suncor has been in the wind power business for more than 20 years. We have interests in four wind farms located in Ontario and western Canada. We’re also looking at solar power projects as an additional low-carbon power development – all of these are part of our low-carbon future.
Combined, our investments in cogeneration and wind power make us the fifth largest and one of the most carbon-competitive independent power producers in Alberta by generation capacity. Across our operations, we have working interest in approximately 1,400 megawatts (MW) of renewable and cogeneration capacity and provide approximately 500 MW to regional grids, increasing our revenue and providing low-carbon energy to consumers.
Cogeneration improves the efficiency of our oil sands business. By producing both industrial steam and electricity through a natural gas-fueled process, cogeneration is the lowest GHG-intensive form of hydrocarbon-based power generation.
All our oil sands facilities use cogeneration, and the GHG intensity of the power produced from our cogeneration units is approximately 75% lower than coal-fired power generation.
We’re replacing the coke-fired boilers (CBR project) at our Oil Sands Base Plant with cogeneration units and anticipate the cogeneration facility to be commissioned in late 2024. In addition to providing the facility with steam needed for our operations and reducing direct GHG emissions at the plant, the cogeneration units will export an additional 800 MW of electricity to the provincial grid, equivalent to roughly 7% of Alberta’s current electricity demand. When operational, the project will reduce GHG emissions by approximately 5.1 megatonnes (Mt) per year in Alberta and will make us the third largest power producer in Alberta (currently we are the fifth largest).
Wind power is one of the fastest growing sources of electricity generation, because it’s efficient, emissions-free and renewable. Investing in wind power and other forms of renewable energy are key components of our climate change action plan.
Along with our partners, we’re involved in four operating wind power facilities with a combined generating capacity of more than 100 MW.
Wind power facilities
|Chin Chute||Taber, Alberta||30 MW, 20 turbines|
|Magrath||Magrath, Alberta||30 MW, 20 turbines|
|SunBridge||Gull Lake, Saskatchewan||11 MW, 17 turbines|
|Adelaide||Strathroy, Ontario||40 MW, 18 turbines|
With technological advancements in recent years, solar power has become a more commercially viable option. Solar technologies can be integrated with existing facilities, like wind farms, and they can also work as standalone solar energy projects.
Solar power projects work well with wind power projects for a few reasons. Energy production from solar facilities peaks at different times during the day and season than wind power, allowing for a consistent supply of power. Solar and wind can also be located in the same area, creating efficiencies when it comes to site development, approvals, and operational costs, sharing maintenance facilities and powerline infrastructure.
How solar projects work
In order to take the energy from the sun and turn it into power that can be transmitted and used, we use solar modules, a racking system, inverters, a collector system of wires and a substation to get the energy ready to be transmitted.
Every new low-carbon project we pursue reflects environmental stewardship, socio-economic benefits and community engagement.
We’re growing our business in low-carbon fuels, electricity, and hydrogen while sustaining and optimizing our existing hydrocarbon business and transforming our GHG footprint.
With more than 20 years of renewable energy experience, we continue to consider new technologies and practices to enhance our environmental performance.
As part of all of projects, we complete a variety of studies that can include, but are not limited to:
- Historical resource studies
- Noise modeling and verification
- Visual impact assessments
- Wetland and watercourse assessments
- Wildlife and wildlife habitat studies
We work with stakeholders to identify potential environmental impacts and potential mitigation measures. Our final project development plan reflects input from landowners, community members, regulators and local Indigenous communities.
We believe that the people and communities impacted by our activities should benefit from energy development through opportunities such as employment, business development, education, training and community investment.
Key factors of being a sustainable energy company include strong economic performance, along with social responsibility and environmental stewardship. Suncor’s investment in the Forty Mile Solar Power Project will benefit the economy, people and nearby communities through:
- creating jobs (construction and operations)
- promoting economic growth and contracting opportunities
- increasing the community’s tax base
- investing in programs and initiatives that support resilient and sustainable communities
Collaborative and proactive relationships with our stakeholders helps build trust which is the foundation from which we work together. In our efforts, we must understand the interests, issues, needs and concerns of our stakeholders and community members.
- engage early with local stakeholders and community members to understand their concerns, interests and values, minimize impacts, and identify opportunities for mutual benefit
- develop long-term positive relationships and presence in the communities
- respond to community concerns in a way that fosters constructive dialogue, trust and mutual respect