HAGERSVILLE – Countries around the world are enjoying good success using biomass as a fuel source for power generation.
There has been talk of Ontario following suit now that the McGuinty government has committed to phasing out coal-fired power generation by the end of 2014. But with the deadline drawing ever closer, talk is all anyone has to show for this alternative.

Advocates of biomass intend to change that. They started Tuesday night with an open house on the subject in the gymnasium of Hagersville Secondary School. It was the first stop on a speaking tour that will take the participants to 12 centres across Ontario in the weeks and months ahead.
“The idea is to cut out a little media space for biofuels to raise awareness,” said Bob Menard, a representative of the Power Workers Union. “It’s what we want people to start thinking about when they hear talk of renewable power.”
Joining Menard were Dr. Gord Surgeoner, president of Ontario Food Technologies, Charles Lalone, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s biomass co-ordinator, and Ian Moncrieff, president and CEO of Canadian Biofuel of Springford.
The four made an hour-long presentation to the nearly 40 in attendance and then answered questions. They also distributed a sample letter endorsing biomass that they asked audience members to send to Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley.
The group wants the province to come up with an immediate plan for using biomass fuels at the three coal-fired generating stations that are slated for closure. They are the Nanticoke Generating Station in Haldimand County, the Lambton plant in Sarnia and the coal-fired plant in Thunder Bay.
Moncrieff told the crowd the McGuinty government’s apparent lack of interest in biomass is perplexing given how it is being embraced elsewhere. There is a big push on in countries like the United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark and Sweden for biomass power generation, yet it is nowhere on the radar screen in Ontario despite numerous potential fuel sources.
Menard acknowledged that members of the Power Workers Union are losing jobs as private solar and wind companies supplant public power generation.
However, he said biomass represents a huge opportunity as well for farmers, workers in the logging industry, workers in the business of pelletizing biomass and truckers who might move the fuel to where it is needed.
“It has an economic and jobs impact that people need to understand,” Menard said. “The people in the plant are important too, but they’re only a small part of the picture.”
Moncrieff said the province needs to signal its interest in biomass as soon as possible if it hopes to secure a reliable supply of pelletized fuel. The increasing popularity of biomass power generation in Europe is squeezing fuel supplies there. If Ontario doesn’t get in on the action, Moncrieff says it is entirely possible that companies such as his own will commit all their production to foreign buyers through long-term contracts.
If that happens, Moncrieff says this generation option may be lost to the province for good for lack of fuel.

Source: www.dunnvillechronicle.com 


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