Ontario Power Generation, responding to Greenpeace 'Fueling a Biomess' report, says it is working to make biomass repowering project at Atikokan Generating Station environmentally sustainable

LOS ANGELES , November 16, 2011 () – Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) Northwest Thermal plant manager Chris Fralick said the company is working to make the biomass repowering project at its Atikokan Generating Station environmentally sustainable, the Atikokan Progress reported Nov. 15.

The statement is in response to Greenpeace’s “Fueling a Biomess” report in November that questioned how sustainable a forest-based bioenergy industry could be.

As the company looks to phase out coal by 2014, Fralick said it would require third party verification from suppliers to ensure the project is fueled from sustainably managed forests. Suppliers must also ensure their product meets the UN definition of renewable biomass, the Atikokan Progress noted.

According to two previous sustainability analyses undertaken by Canada’s Pembina Institute, following a 2010 recommendation from Ontario’s environment commissioner, OPG has received verification that its project can be sustainably managed.

Consuming 2 million tonnes of wood pellets per year, the project will not result in a systemic decline in forest carbon stocks but will offer greenhouse gas benefits, in comparison to fossil fuels, while creating 3,259 jobs and adding US$558 million to Ontario’s GDP, according to one analysis, reported the Atikokan Progress.

The second study, which looked into the use of 100,000 tonnes/year of forest biomass from management units in northwestern Ontario, concluded the project would not reduce forest carbon stocks but would be more beneficial than coal and natural gas while supporting 160 local jobs.

OPG’s application to include biomass operations under its Certificate of Approval has been submitted to Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, and will be posted on the ministry’s website for comment.

The primary source of this article is the Atikokan Progress, Atikokan, Ontario, on Nov. 15, 2011.

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