The green lobbyists have big plans for some of the coal power plants Rachel Notley and the NDP plant to close down.
The are going to convert them to burn trees. And quadruple the price of electricity.
There is more than enough fibre both in Alberta and Canada to fuel a major expansion in pellet production to feed one or two large Alberta coal-fired plants without much of an impact in overall fibre availability. Presenter Jamie Stephen of Torchlight Bioresources estimates a gap between AAC and actual harvest of over 39 million bone dry tonnes (BDT) across Canada, as well as the availability of residues topping 30 million BDT.
AAC is Annual Allowable Cut.
The technology and processes are proven and expertise widely available to convert coal-fired plants to biomass. Presentations by Bill Strauss of FutureMetrics, Brent Boyko of OPG and Brian Moran of U.K. bioenergy giant Drax made that abundantly clear.
Burning trees instead of coal is the future because government lobbyists can make people do stupid things.
The execution gap is economic, something outlined with some precision all day, but driven home by Mark Mackay of Transalta, Corp. Transalta is one of the three major power generators in Alberta with coal fired assets on hand. “If we say the current power market in Alberta is paying roughly $22/Mwh, and biomass is looking like $85/Mwh, somehow we have to think that equation through. I think government policy will be a big part of getting this started.”
More lobbying to take an abundant resource (coal) and replace it with forests and charge consumers 4 times as much.
The bulk of available biomass in Alberta and neighbouring B.C. is controlled by the major forest tenure holders, and so any solution will have to include them. Several speakers and attendees suggest the provinces could adopt a ‘use it or lose it” approach like Ontario.
Burn trees or else.
The next step is to build off the momentum created by this gathering of varied interests in Edmonton. In the closing chat, both WPAC executive director Gord Murray and Transalta’s Mark Mackay agreed that parties should work together to get this viable peak option in front of policy makers in Alberta. “It’s clear to me from this meeting that biomass is an option worth looking into, and that the will is there in this group to make it work,” Mackay concluded. “But time is of the essence. We have to get in front of government with this, and soon.”
Lobby politicians with huge amounts of money and be quick about it! Or those idiots building windmills will get all the government subsidies.