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Cap lowered on biomass for electricity

NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Cap lowered on biomass for electricity
Nova Scotia is lowering its cap on the annual amount of new forest biomass that can be used to generate electricity.


April 12, 2011
By NS Natural Resources/Energy

Apr. 12, 2011 – Nova Scotia is acting to
protect the sustainability of its forests while keeping on track to meet its
renewable energy goals. The cap on the annual amount of new forest biomass that
can be used to generate electricity will be lowered by 30% to 350,000 dry
tonnes/year.

"As we work to meet our target to generate 40% of the province's
electricity from renewable sources by 2020, we are continually assessing our
information," says Charlie Parker, minister of natural resources. "We
have decided that the original 500,000-tonne cap, laid out in the 2010
Renewable Electricity Plan and subsequent regulations, can be more cautious on
the basis of current analysis."

When the plan was released in April 2010, the province made a commitment to
defer to the Natural Resources Strategy process in setting the biomass cap.

"The Phase Two steering panel report in the Natural Resources Strategy
process states that government should exercise caution in the use of biomass
for power generation," says Parker. "We are paying attention to that
advice while continuing to rely on forest biomass as part of a diversified
approach to renewable energy."

Provincial forest biomass will not be co-fired in Nova Scotia Power generating
plants to help meet the province's 2015 regulated target of 25% renewable
electricity. Other biomass projects will continue to be covered by the cap,
including community-based biomass projects under the province's new Community
Feed-in-Tariff program.

Typically harvested as a byproduct of regular forestry practices, biomass is a
renewable fuel source suitable for generating electricity in large power
facilities and small community biomass projects. Forest biomass in Nova Scotia
is used as a fuel in a number of applications, including firewood in more than 100,000
homes, a co-generation facility in Brooklyn in Queens County, the agricultural
college in Truro, two South Shore hospitals, and several other institutions.
The only recently approved biomass project in the province is for NewPage Port
Hawkesbury in partnership with Nova Scotia Power. The project is expected to
begin in 2012 under strict forest harvesting guidelines announced in November
2009. New policies to reduce clear-cutting to 50% will also apply to NewPage.

The province says it will release an economic impact analysis in early May 2011
of recent policy changes on the forestry industry, particularly a clear-cutting
reduction target. The provincial Natural Resources Strategy also will be
released this spring.

For additional information, read N.S. chops biomass quota by 30 per cent, by David Jackson | The Chronicle Herald.


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