FPAC Says Canadian Forest Industry Could Produce Enough Clean Renewable Energy to Replace Nine Nuclear Reactors

Avrim Lazar says further development of biomass for energy needs to be a larger part of the Canadian governments' energy development plans.

Oct. 6, 2011 - The President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), Avrim Lazar, says that with the right government support the Canadian forest industry could produce enough clean renewable energy to replace nine nuclear reactors.

He was appearing today before the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources as part of its study of the current and future state of Canada's energy system and its goals of defining a Canadian Sustainable Energy Strategy.

According to the Canadian Industrial Energy End-Use Data and Analysis Centre, biomass ranks second after large hydroelectric facilities in producing renewable energy in Canada, and also creates almost three times as much energy as wind. The forest industry now generates enough electricity to power Vancouver or the entire Maritime provinces or replace the output of three nuclear reactors.

"We could easily triple our clean energy output using waste products from our mills," says Lazar. "Already we are self-generating about two thirds of our energy needs and about a half dozen of our mills are now net exporters of energy to provincial grids. Further developing this significant source of green energy needs to be a larger part of governments' energy development plans"

The Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program (PPGTP) is already helping Canadian pulp and paper mills increase their production of renewable energy, and when the program is fully completed, will mean an extra 2.1 million MWH/year, enough to power nearly 174,000 homes.

"We need to keep that momentum going," says Lazar. "Governments have an important role to play to further help mills accelerate their transformation and add on the production of bio-fuels, bio-chemicals and other bio-products to their existing product mix. Recognizing the role that the Canadian forest industry plays in greening the energy supply chain is a critical component of any clean energy strategy."

Lazar told the Senate that this would be good not just for the environment and Canada's energy future, but also good for the economy and jobs.

FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 240,000 direct jobs across the country.