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The Voice of Canada’s growing pellet sector

Environmental Benefits of Wood Pellets

  • Wood pellets are carbon neutral.
  • Switching from coal to natural gas reduces 50% of greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions.
  • Switching from coal to wood pellets reduces 100% of GHG emissions.
  • The pellet industry enabled the closure of polluting bee-hive burners at Canadian sawmills.

Wood Pellets in Europe

  • Unlike Canada, the European Union has mandated GHG reduction by law. Canada's policy is to wait and see what the US does.
  • The EU has committed to a 20% GHG reduction from 1990 levels by 2020 and is using wood pellets as an important way to achieve this target.
  • The EU mixes wood pellets with coal in thermal power plants as a way to reduce GHG. This mix, known as co-firing, can range from 5% to 100% wood pellets. Hence about 90% of Canadian wood pellets are exported to the EU.

Wood Pellets in Canada

  • Most Canadian homes are heated by natural gas.
  • Wood pellets are extremely cost efficient in rural areas not served by natural gas. Pellets are about 25%-30% cheaper than heating oil.
  • Canada emits 23.2 tons of GHG per capita, second only to the US at 24.1 tons per capita. Surprisingly, China and India are much lower emitters at 5.8 and 2.1 tons per capita respectively.
  • Our association is trying to convince Canadian coal power producers to co-fire like they do in Europe and to convince federal and provincial governments to develop policy to support this. To date, the power companies and government have been unwilling.
  • The federal government in Canada is instead promoting conversion from coal to natural gas.
  • Ontario Power Generation previously announced its intention to convert its 3 largest coal power stations from coal to wood pellets. They have now decided to investigate conversion to natural gas instead at all but its Atikokan plant.
  • We need to continue pursuing this agenda with power companies and government.

Coal Powered Electricity in Canada

  • Canada consumes 58 million tonnes of coal per year and about 90% is used for power generation in 19 coal power plants.
  • Coal power is responsible for 17% of Canada's GHG emissions.
  • Much of the coal is low grade lignite and sub-bituminous coal with energy content similar to wood pellets.
  • At a 5% co-firing rate, a 2.5 million tonne per year domestic wood pellet market would be created.
Genesee coal power plant near Edmonton, Alberta

Other Resources

Feel free to download any of these documents highlighting forest management across Canada and in its various provinces.

Wood pellet fact sheet

CSA Certification of forests in Canada

Canadian sustainable forest practices

Canadian multi-use land planning

Forest bioenergy values

Protected areas in British Columbia

Sustainable forest management in British Columbia

Mountain pine beetle (BC)

Involving British Columbians

Legal sources of forest products

Ontario forest facts sheet

Climate change and forests in Ontario

Harvesting in the boreal forest

Managed forests and climate change

Public involvement in forest management

Quick facst about Ontario's forests

The boreal forest




Industry Links

Industry Links



Become a Member

Become a Member


WPAC Safety Committee

To find more information about the WPAC Safety Committee and safety resources, please click here

Power Generation


Sustainable power

The vast majority of Canadian wood pellets are made from sawmill residuals - sawdust. The rest are made from the residuals from harvesting operations for sawmills and pulp mills, or low-grade timber from forest industry harvest sites that has no other economic value. Think firewood. Read more...

Breathing easier - pellet emissions vs coal

Sustainability should be top of mind for any company that wants to stay in the game in today’s world.

As important a role as Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions play, we also need to focus on noxious emissions versus coal.


Industry News


  • Drax, GB Railfrieght, extend contract to transport biomass

    GB Railfreight (GBRf) and Drax have agreed to extend their contract to transport supplies of sustainable biomass from UK ports to Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire until 2025. Teams at GBRf have worked closely with Drax for the past[…]

  • Remotely powerful: Nine rural communities’ experience with bioenergy – Part 3

    Remotely powerful: Nine rural communities’ experience with bioenergy – Part 3 [Editor’s note: this article is the third in a series of four. Part 4 online next week.] In early 2020, CanmetENERGY, part of Natural Resources Canada, carried out interviews with nine pioneering rural and remote communities that have installed bioenergy[…]


The Pellet Advantage

Efficient and Plentiful Production

Wood Pellet Association of Canada members are world leaders in the design and operation of modern pellet plants.


Innovating our way to a safer, better product

Wood pellets are a safe, reliable modern fuel. But they are still a fuel, requiring care in producing, shipping and storing.


Renewable and sustainable? Energy really can grow on trees.

There is no single energy source capable of solving our dependence on fossil fuels. Instead we need to look to a mix of new fuels, including wood pellets.


Argus Wood Pellet Index

US$ per metric tonneArgus Wood Pellet Index

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