Business View Civil and Municipal | April/May 2022

15 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 3, ISSUE 3 Underutilized wood can generate much-needed electricity for industries and communities Written by Iain Angus, Chair of the Common Voice Northwest Energy Taskforce Ontario will soon be facing an unprecedented demand for new electricity supply as some of the nuclear plants, a major supplier of Ontario’s electricity, are taken out of service. Currently, the Northwest will also be short of power as a number of new mines connect to the provincial grid. The current shift to green power is opening up new options for the generation of electricity that could help to meet the demand. Ontario Power Generation is exploring new hydro projects, but people living in the Boreal Forest region know there’s already another viable source; one that not only produces green renewable energy, but creates good paying, long-term jobs in the smaller communities of the province. It’s forest biomass, consisting largely of the left over wood from logging and sawmill operations. A number of factors combine to make it an attractive way to produce future electricity across Ontario’s North. The first is supply: almost every community in Ontario’s North is surrounded by the forest industry, making wood fiber a readily available resource. Furthermore, this supply has the potential to grow in the years to come. Today only 46% of the province’s total allowable cut is being harvested each year, less than 0.5% of Ontario’s overall public forest. Demand for sustainably sourced forest products is also at an all-time high and is expected to increase. The United Nations projects that global demand for forest products will grow by more than 30 percent by 2030. Increased forest production will Forest Biomass Key To North’s Energy Needs