Ontario’s government has launched the province’s first Forest Biomass Action Plan to drive economic growth and ensure the strength of the sector for generations.
The five-year plan promotes economic opportunities for using forest biomass in new, diverse ways, including renewable energy.
The development of the action plan was supported by a diverse working group with diverse interests in forest biomass, including Indigenous partners, businesses, and associations.
“Innovative uses of forest biomass will create new sources of renewable and environmentally friendly products and ways of doing business,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry.
“Our government’s Forest Biomass Action Plan will secure forestry jobs across the north and ensure our province has the materials we need to Build Ontario.”
The launch of the action plan coincides with Calstock Generating Station in Hearst securing a new contract for biomass-fired electricity. Earlier this year, Todd Smith, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, directed the Independent Electricity System Operator to enter into a procurement contract recognising the important role the Calstock Generating Station plays in servicing the province’s electricity needs. The new contract secures jobs in the north while using up to 158,000 tonnes of renewable energy through biomass annually.
“We know that biomass is essential to our forestry industry and that the industry is essential to Northern Ontario, which is what makes our government’s action plan a win-win for all,” said Minister Smith.
“Securing biomass-fired electricity generation at Calstock Generating Station will continue to promote clean generation, support small communities and secure jobs across the north while maintaining electricity rate stability for families and businesses.”
The final plan includes feedback and input from Indigenous communities and the public after a ‘significant’ consultation process.