The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has approved a resolution from Thunder Bay, which calls on the province to do more to support biomass electricity generation.
Currently, the Ontario government plans to renew existing Biomass Power Purchase Agreements for just five years, if they expire in the next two to three years.
But representatives of the Thunder Bay chamber have now successfully argued that biomass heat and power generation is a key driver of the local economy, and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gases.
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.