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Nova Scotia lowers the cap on biomass used for energy

At the urging of a panel working on Nova Scotia's natural resources strategy, the province will lower the cap on the annual amount of new forest biomass that can be used to generate electricity by 30% to 350,000 dry tonnes per year. "As we work...


April 12, 2011
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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At the urging of a panel working on Nova Scotia’s natural resources strategy, the province will lower the cap on the annual amount of new forest biomass that can be used to generate electricity by 30% to 350,000 dry tonnes per year. “As we work to meet our target to generate 40% of the province’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, we are continually assessing our information,” said Charlie Parker, minister of natural resources. “We have decided that the original 500,000 tonne cap, laid out in the 2010 Renewable Electricity Plan and subsequent regulations, can be more cautious on the basis of current analysis.” When the plan was released in April 2010, the province made a commitment to defer to the Natural Resources Strategy process in setting the biomass cap. “The Phase Two steering panel report in the Natural Resources Strategy process states that government should exercise caution in the use of biomass for power generation,” said Mr. Parker. “We are paying attention to that advice while continuing to rely on forest biomass as part of a diversified approach to renewable energy.” Provincial forest biomass will not be co-fired in Nova Scotia Power generating plants to help meet the province’s 2015 regulated target of 25% renewable electricity. Other biomass projects will continue to be covered by the cap, including community-based biomass projects under the province’s new Community Feed-in-Tariff program. Biomass is wood fibre that includes small-stemmed or knotted trees and other low-value wood that is not used to make lumber and can interfere with the growth of healthy hardwood stands. The only recently approved biomass project in the province is for New Page Port Hawkesbury Corp., in partnership with Nova Scotia Power. The project is expected to begin in 2012 under strict forest harvesting guidelines announced in November 2009. New policies to reduce clearcutting to 50% will also apply to NewPage. Within the next few weeks, the province will release an economic impact analysis of recent policy changes on the forestry industry, particularly a clear-cutting reduction target. The provincial Natural Resources Strategy also will be released this spring.