Forest Biomass Power Purchase Agreements

A Letter to Premier Ford and Ministers Yakabuski, Rickford & Yurek

Forest Biomass Power Purchase Agreements

Oct 1, 2020 | Provincial Advocacy

A Letter to Premier Ford and Ministers Yakabuski, Rickford & Yurek

Hon. Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building, Room 281
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1

Hon. Greg Rickford
Minister of Energy, Northern Development and
77 Grenville Street,
Toronto, ON M7A 1B3

Hon. John Yakabuski
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
99 Wellesley Street West,
Toronto, ON M7A 1W3

Hon. Jeff Yurek
Minister of Environment, Conservation, and Parks
777 Bay Street,
Toronto, ON M7A 2J3

Dear Premier Ford, Minister Rickford, Minister Yakabuski, and Minister Yurek:


The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce represents nearly 800 businesses and their over 20,000 employees. I am writing to express our concern regarding the future of forest biomass facilities currently operating under power purchase agreements (PPAs). In particular, we are concerned about the future of the Calstock biomass generation facility in Hearst, whose PPA expires in less than three months, and the potential negative impacts for the forest industry across the North Shore of Lake Superior.

We know that Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario have benefited greatly from the significant investments made by Resolute Forest Products to maximize the utilization of biomass residuals to generate electricity, maintain and create employment, and reduce landfill volumes, none of which would be possible without a PPA. As highlighted by our local experience, these facilities are essential for our communities and an important part of the fabric of our forest sector industry. In addition to the green electricity produced, forest biomass provides many benefits to forest product companies and the communities in which they operate by creating jobs through ongoing operations while supporting a highly integrated supply chain between pulp and paper, lumber, and panel mills. In this regard, forest biomass is quite different to other renewable sources of energy like wind and solar that provide limited ongoing employment opportunities.

Existing PPA facilities consume a large volume of residual material from surrounding mills. In a time when the province is acting boldly to ensure a prosperous future for Ontario’s forest sector, and “putting more wood back to work”, it is concerning that we may get to a place of landfilling as a result of cancellation of PPAs.

Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy provides a unique opportunity to increase the usage of forest biomass as an affordable, sustainable, and low-carbon energy source. I ask you to delay the expiration of current PPAs until a workable outcome for all parties has been achieved.

Charla Robinson

Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Jamie Lim, President & CEO, Ontario Forest Industries Association
Regional Deputy Grand Chief Edward Wawia
Mayor Wendy Landry, President of NOMA
Danny Whalen, President of FONOM

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