Canadian Biomass Magazine

From industrial decline to biomass boom: Belledune Port’s sustainable transformation

May 14, 2024
By Canadian Biomass Staff


As the tide of global energy shifts, New Brunswick’s Belledune Port Authority (BPA) has captured Honourable Mention for Community Project of the Year as part of the 2024 Canadian Biomass Awards.

The Port of Belledune, under the stewardship of president and CEO Denis Caron, has emerged as Eastern Canada’s premier exporter of biomass, recording a sixth consecutive year of growth in wood pellet volume.

“This has been a journey of strategic foresight and robust partnerships aimed at enhancing our capacity for climate-friendly energy sources,” Caron said.

The port’s shipment volume soared from 223,948 tonnes in 2018 to a projected 510,000 tonnes in 2024, driven by $15 million in investments to expand terminal capacities and storage facilities.

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“Even during the global supply chain slowdowns brought by the pandemic, our focus on biomass helped sustain and grow our annual profits,” said Caron. The Port of Belledune’s success is closely tied to the shift away from fossil fuels, with much of its exported biomass destined for European power plants transitioning away from coal.

The narrative of Belledune’s biomass initiative is also a story of regional revitalization. Northern New Brunswick, having suffered industrial decline over the past two decades, views biomass as a driver of industrial reinvention.

“The adoption of biomass is not just about replacing old energy sources; it’s about reinvigorating our community and steering towards a sustainable economic future,” Caron said, highlighting the impact on the local economy.

The potential for further expansion is significant, particularly with the looming 2030 federal ban on coal for power production. Adjacent to the port, the 470 MW Belledune Generating Station is a focal point for this shift, with NB Power evaluating biomass as a feasible replacement for coal. In anticipation, the port is preparing to import and test-burn 2,500 tonnes of wood pellets in 2024.

“The sense of purpose this project injects into our community is profound. It’s not just about energy; it’s about hope and resilience,” Caron said.

Winning the Community Project of the Year award is more than just an accolade for the Belledune Port Authority; it’s a validation of their sustainable vision.

“We are deeply grateful for this recognition as it acknowledges our commitment to environmental stewardship and community partnership,” Caron said.


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