Efficiency Manitoba works with J.R. Simplot Company potato processing facility as it becomes one of the most energy efficient facilities of its kind in the world

With support from Efficiency Manitoba, the J.R. Simplot Company (Simplot) has completed an energy-efficient expansion to their potato processing facility in Portage la Prairie, which will deliver significant energy and utility bill savings while more than doubling potato processing capacity. 

The 400,000 square foot expansion included the design and implementation of several energy efficiency enhancements to the building expansion, production, and operations equipment, establishing this as one of the most energy-efficient facilities of its kind in the world. 

These improvements yield estimated annual electricity savings of 20.5 GWh (gigawatt-hours) and natural gas savings of 5.7 million m3 (cubic metres), contributing the equivalent of 6% of Efficiency Manitoba’s three-year average annual electricity savings target and 43% of the average three-year annual natural gas savings target. In addition, the natural gas savings result in greenhouse gas emission reductions of close to 11,000 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) each year. 

“Completing energy efficiency projects of this magnitude are vital to our province’s efforts in reducing energy consumption, mitigating the impacts of climate change on the environment, and supporting economic growth,” said Minister of Environment, Climate and Parks and Minister responsible for Efficiency Manitoba, Jeff Wharton. “I commend Simplot and Efficiency Manitoba on their collaborative efforts and encourage others to explore energy efficiency opportunities. Working together contributes to a healthier, greener future for Manitoba.” 

Efficiency Manitoba supported multiple processing-related energy efficiency opportunities. The most significant electricity saving upgrades included installing variable speed drives on 12 fans and 37 pumps, yielding over 9 GWh of annual electricity savings, with another 8.8 GWh of savings derived from more energy-efficient refrigeration systems. The installation of a heat recovery system, consisting of a series of heat exchangers which removes heat from the fryer exhaust to preheat process hot water and incoming fresh air through the building’s HVAC system, produces over 34% of Simplot’s natural gas savings. 

Other key energy-saving features associated with the construction of the expansion include improved HVAC, building envelope, and lighting systems. Through the support of Efficiency Manitoba’s New Buildings Program, Simplot’s final energy model confirmed their expansion exceeded the minimum energy efficiency requirements of the Manitoba Energy Code for Buildings by 14.5%, which reduces the building’s operating costs by $270,000 annually.  

These energy efficiency enhancements were enabled by Simplot’s participation in Efficiency Manitoba’s Custom Energy Solutions Program and New Buildings Program. Efficiency Manitoba provided Simplot with technical support throughout the duration of the project and worked alongside consultants and other energy efficiency professionals to ensure energy-efficient measures were incorporated. 

Efficiency Manitoba provided Simplot with $2.9 million in incentives for successfully completing these energy-efficiency enhancements, and Simplot will save an estimated $1.7 million annually on their energy bills.   

“Our incentives and technical expertise illustrate our commitment to achieving long-term cost-effective energy savings,” said Colleen Kuruluk, Chief Executive Officer of Efficiency Manitoba. “Our work with Simplot also allowed us to collaborate with other energy efficiency industry professionals ranging from project engineers, building modelers, and contractors. These types of projects provide opportunities for the energy efficiency industry and support green job creation in Manitoba.” 

Efficiency Manitoba’s New Buildings Program and Custom Energy Solutions Program are designed to help Manitoba businesses make energy efficiency upgrades and enhancements to their buildings and operations. By offering financial incentives, energy modelling services, and technical consultation, these programs encourage businesses to incorporate energy efficiency into their project. 

“We appreciate the incentives available for energy efficiency projects, and our partnership with Efficiency Manitoba,” said Don Strickler, Energy Engineer at Simplot. “These incentives and efficiency expertise enable us to justify projects that otherwise may not have been implemented.” 

More information about Efficiency Manitoba’s programs for businesses can be found at efficiencyMB.ca/business

For more information, please email us at media@efficiencyMB.ca.