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Nova Scotia caps biomass

The maximum amount of woody biomass utilised in power plants for the generation of green electricity is to be reduced in Nova Scotia, Canada.

In a bid to preserve the forests in the province, while at the same time meeting renewable energy goals, the provincial government announced that waste wood levels are to be cut by 30%, reducing the biomass cap from 500,000 tonnes a year to 350,000 tonnes a year.

Nova Scotia's original 500,000 tonne-a-year biomass limit was put into place in 2010 as part of its Renewable Electricity Plan.

According to Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker, the move comes following the findings of a study into the economic impacts of using biomass for electricity generation. The study, which has not yet been released, looks at the effects of strategy changes included in the province's natural resources plan on the forestry industry.

'We are listening to Nova Scotians,' Parker says. 'Also, the natural resources strategy phase two report was recommending that we be cautious.'

The previous cap has been criticised by environmental groups, worried about the impact on woodlands. However, Parker believes the revised cap is sustainable.

However one sceptic is not so sure. Andrew Younger explains: 'We still wonder where the science is behind this cap because the minister has refused to provide any evidence that would indicate that even 350,000 tonnes is sustainable.'