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Thunder Bay resolution on biomass generation approved by Ontario Chamber of Commerce

The resolution calls on provincial government to bump biomass power purchase agreements from five to 10 years
Atikokan Generating Station 2 (OPG photo)
Atikokan Generating Station (Ontario Power Generation photo)

THUNDER BAY — The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has approved a resolution from Thunder Bay calling on the province to do more to support biomass electricity generation.

Representatives of the Thunder Bay chamber took the motion to Brampton for the Ontario chamber's annual meeting on the weekend.

They said biomass heat and power generation is a key element of the economy while contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases at the same time.

Their resolution – supported by the Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie chambers– noted that the Ontario government currently plans to renew existing Biomass Power Purchase Agreements for only five years once they expire in the next two to three years.

Current production facilities in Northern Ontario include ones at Resolute Forest Products in Thunder Bay, the Atikokan Generation Station, Hornepayne Power Inc., Calstock (Atlantic Power), and the GreenFirst (formerly Tembec) sawmill at Chapleau.

The Resolute facility uses fibre from sawmills and lumber producers at Ignace, Atikokan, Fort Frances, Barwick and Thunder Bay in addition to many bush contractors.

The resolution noted that these suppliers rely on grinding or chipping waste material in order to access timber stands that otherwise would be unharvestable without a market for the lower-grade fibre.

It called on the province to renew biomass power purchase agreements for at least 10 years in order to enhance business certainty.

It also recommended that the extended agreements provide for the same volume of fibre as the current contracts, so as to protect jobs and local economies, and to divert waste fibre from landfill facilities.

The resolution further said existing biomass generators should produce more power to meet the electrical demands of the areas where they are located, and that the government should support the development of cogeneration and district energy systems.

Two other local resolutions called for provincial investments in mining innovation, and the elimination of the expansion of municipal land transfer taxes.

According to the Thunder Bay chamber, all three of its resolutions received strong support and were adopted as official Ontario chamber policy positions for the next three years.

- TBNewswatch