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Atikokan, Ont. – OPG Atikokan is ready to produce power for the grid in northwestern Ontario as the plant is now officially open for business.

The official ribbon cutting at the $170 million coal-to-biomass conversion at Ontario Power Generation’s Atikokan plant was held Wednesday 10 attended by Ontario Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli

The conversion project is the first of its kind in Ontario, creating the largest capacity 100% biomass fuelled power plant in North America. The plant carries a 211MW maximum output. However, it will be used as backup power to support the power grid in northwestern Ontario.

OPG Atikokan will receive 90,000 tonnes of wood pellets for energy production. The contract is split evenly between the Rentech plant in Atikokan and the Resolute plant in Thunder Bay. Neither plant is operational as of yet, however, Rentech has supplied pellets for OPG Atikokan through an agreement with KD Quality Pellets in New Liskeard. The Rentech pellet plant is expected to be producing pellets by the end of October, while the Resolute plant should be completed by the end of 2014.