Drax applauds Canada’s budget commitment to biomass
The Budget 2023 plan specifically highlights biomass as a key component of the clean energy sector, acknowledging its potential to reduce reliance on diesel fuel in rural and remote Indigenous communities.
The Canadian government has also pledged to engage with the biofuels industry to explore opportunities for growth, including examining support mechanisms for low-emissions fuels.
“We are excited by the Canadian government’s commitment to clean energy and the recognition of biomass as a crucial component in achieving a cleaner future,” said Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax.
“Biomass is a win-win for Canada as it is not only viewed by leading scientists as a dispatchable, renewable fuel source in the fight against climate change, it also supports thousands of Canadian jobs and contributes millions to local economies.”
Drax said it has invested over $830 million (€760.5m) in the Canadian forestry sector, supporting more than 10,000 jobs and contributing $1.1 billion (€1bn) to the nation’s GDP in 2021.
The company utilises 81% sawmill residues to produce biomass pellets, with the remainder consisting of material collected from harvest residuals and low-grade wood, such as tops and branches, low-quality trees or parts that are diseased or misshapen.
The market for low-grade wood helps improve the health and productivity of forests while reducing wildfire risks and disease, according to Drax.
“We look forward to working closely with the Canadian government to further advance the biomass industry and opportunities for forest workers, including through meaningful partnerships with First Nations communities and businesses,” said Gardiner.
The Budget also called for the allocation of $500 million (€458m) to the Strategic Innovation Fund to support the development and application of clean technologies in Canada.
Additionally, the fund will direct up to $1.5 billion (€1.3bn) of its existing resources towards projects in sectors including clean technologies, critical minerals and industrial transformation.
Drax added that it has a goal is to become the global leader in carbon removals by deploying bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS).
This includes building large scale carbon removal facilities, creating thousands of jobs in new clean energy technology and generating dispatchable, renewable power for homes and industries – while supporting the growth of the forestry sector and other intermittent energy sources.
“Drax stands ready to support government on the development of a technology-inclusive approach to the carbon contracts for difference announced in Budget 2023,” said Gardiner.
“Appropriate policy mechanisms are critical to incentivise investment in carbon dioxide removal technologies like BECCS, and we welcome this positive step to develop a BECCS industry in Canada.”