Reducing Bioenergy Use As Good For Canada Essay
Bioenergy use is good for Canada. Its benefits include reduction of greenhouse gas and other emissions, waste management, energy cost control and energy supply stability. Yet bioenergy use in Canada currently represents only about 6 percent of the total primary energy supply. In Northern Europe, a region physically similar to Canada, the corresponding figure ranges from 12 to 20 percent. What are the barriers that keep Canada from expanding the use of bioenergy here?
• Low energy prices
Canada has very large reserves of fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal – and a significant investment in energy production based on these nonrenewable sources. As a result of this and other factors, energy prices in Canada are typically less than half of what they are in much of Europe.
• Lack of capital
The capital costs of building bioenergy plants range between $1500 and $2500 per kW – much higher than for fossil energy plants. As a result, payback periods on bioenergy investments can be four years or longer. The Canadian forest industry, which controls much of the biomass and might be expected to lead the way in bioenergy plant investment, suffers from a lack of capital to invest in such projects. Small, widely separated biomass sources Although Canada’s forests hold vast quantities of biomass, most of it is inaccessible, unavailable or so spread out as to be uneconomic to collect and use. The available biomass…