June 8, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Eight allocations for Crown forest biomass have been awarded to New Brunswick companies, Natural Resources Minister Wally Stiles announced today.
The biomass material, which consists of branches, tree tops and foliage not traditionally used by the forest industry, will be used to produce renewable carbon-neutral energy or be incorporated into value-added products. The allocations total 1,276,000 cubic metres (cu. m) of biomass, enough to displace about 200 million litres of oil.
"Most of the biomass will be used in co-generation facilities to produce energy for use by these companies in their own facilities, and potentially surplus electricity for sale to the provincial power grid," said Stiles. "The provincial government is pleased to support these initiatives that will help reduce our dependency on fossil fuels while lowering energy costs for companies."
Energy produced from biomass is considered carbon neutral because the biomass material takes carbon out of the atmosphere while it grows and returns it when it is burned. Unlike fossil fuels, Crown forest biomass is a renewable source of energy; the province's forest management strategy for Crown land is designed to ensure a sustainable supply of forest products.
"This is great news for our energy future," said Energy Minister Jack Keir. "The production of electricity from co-generated biomass can play a significant role in helping our province achieve our renewable energy goals."
Twin Rivers Paper Co. Inc. received the largest allocation - 308,000 cu. m. The biomass will be used to produce carbon-neutral energy for its Edmundston mill.
The other allocations were:
Sixteen proposals were received by the Department of Natural Resources in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) from parties interested in the biomass material. Individuals, corporations or other provincial bodies with existing or proposed New Brunswick-based processing facilities were eligible to apply.
"The response to the RFP was so overwhelming that the requested allocations far exceeded the level of biomass material that can be harvested on a sustainable basis,'" said Stiles.
Staff from the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Energy and Business New Brunswick evaluated the proposals.
"It is encouraging to see so many New Brunswick companies express such a strong desire to acquire Crown forest biomass for green energy projects," said Stiles. "Our government has worked hard to develop this new forest resource and bring about the benefits it will provide for the bio-energy sector as well as a cleaner environment."
Stiles said the Department of Natural Resources has developed a Crown Land Forest Biomass Harvesting Policy and related assessment tools to ensure that biomass material is harvested in a sustainable manner. The volume of this material available in any given year will depend on the amount of wood harvested in the same year.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Matt Jones, communications, Department of Natural Resources, 506-453-2614, email@example.com; Anne Bull Monteith, communications, Department of Natural Resources, 506-453-2614, firstname.lastname@example.org.