Association News and Publications

The Government of the Northwest Territories first began to look seriously at biomass in 2007, when the growing need to manage costs and carbon emissions started to become too difficult to ignore. Rather than keep moving forward with piecemeal investments in clean energy, the government decided to come up with a territorial biomass strategy that would set out objectives for the future.

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Though wood had been used to heat homes in the North since time immemorial, establishing a full-blown biomass industry in the Northwest Territories is a feat that’s only gotten underway in the last 10 or 15 years.

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Energy costs are the major driver behind the rising cost of living in the Northwest Territories, where distance and isolation shackle communities to an expensive supply chain of oil and gas to keep the lights on and the furnace running during those dark, cold winters.

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The European Commission’s directorate-general for competition is investigating whether the UK government’s support of the biomass conversion of Lynemouth Power Station (LPS) complies with EU state aid rules, putting in jeopardy a project that would consume 1.5 million tonnes of wood pellets annually.

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Using a track and field metaphor, Europe has lapped North America in the race to reduce global warming and develop clean renewable energy. The EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED) provides the so-called 20-20-20 targets that mandate 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a 1995 base level; 20 per cent reduction in energy consumption; and for 20 per cent of energy to be renewable. This has resulted in Europe becoming the largest global wood pellet market, accounting for 80 per cent of consumption, far ahead of second place, USA, and third place, South Korea.

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