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Province offers up funds to Quinlan Brothers plant

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is providing $100,000 for Quinlan Bros. to install a system expected to save the company money, through reduced energy costs at its Bay de Verde fish plant.

The money will go towards the installation of a new control system for refrigeration units, providing an automatic shutoff when the units are not in use, in processing snow crab and shrimp.

The total price tag for the system stands at about $250,000, according to the vice-president of Quinlan Bros., Robin Quinlan, who was on hand for a media event to announce the province’s contribution in St. John’s Wednesday.

The company will be kicking in $100,000 of its own funds and the remaining $50,000 or so has been covered under a program led by Newfoundland Power, he said.

The provincial government’s contribution is non-repayable, as opposed to a repayable government loan.

It is being provided under the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture’s Fisheries and Technology New Opportunities Program.

The money is being granted with the hope the savings will, ultimately, spur other companies to invest in energy-saving plant upgrades.

“If we can make the industry stronger and more competitive locally, we’re obviously making it stronger nationally and internationally,” Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Vaughan Granter told reporters Wednesday, when asked about the returns.

If effective, the system is expected to pay for itself in just two years.

“This is the largest facility that we have, Bay de Verde, with regards to refrigeration equipment. This would be the best-case scenario, because it’s the largest power bill that we have. So if there’s savings that could be realized, we’ll see it there in a grand scale,” Quinlan said.

“If this system works and we can obtain the projected savings that we anticipate, or that’s been given to us in an estimated form, we would most certainly install these systems in the remainder of our plants.”

Quinlan group companies would cover seven or eight fish plants. “Overall, that’s a significant amount of processing capacity here on the island that would be fitted with these power saving systems,” he said.

Granter said the application for the energy-efficient system could extend outside of the fisheries, to other manufacturing and heavy industry.

“By modifying existing technologies and adopting new, efficient equipment, the new system has the potential to generate 10 to 15 per cent energy savings overall,” he said.

The Quinlan Brothers plant is part of an ongoing three-plant pilot study, being led by the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation. Quinlan said the company was approached by the centre and asked to jump into the study.

The other two plants involved are controlled by Allen’s Fisheries Ltd. and Ocean Choice International. Funding from the province for systems at those plants was similarly announced in January, with each company set to receive more than $75,000 for energy-efficient chill units to be installed in the six weeks following.

The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation is evaluating the systems as they are installed.

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