British Columbia is the largest bioenergy-producing region in North America with capacity of 4,300 GWh/yr. Northern British Columbia has the largest availability of wood biomass in the country. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations estimates there are approximately 3.1 million cubic meters of potential forest tenure available for use as biomass for energy. This, in conjunction with a network of companies located throughout the region, with large capital investments in the forest and the emerging bioenergy industries and whose entrepreneurial activity is driving the development and implementation of new technologies, are assets to the overall positioning of BC as a global bioenergy leader.
To learn more about pursuing biomass energy opportunities and Technologies in British Columbia see the BC Government’s bioenergy guide.
The British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Housing
The British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Housing is the legislative body responsible for regulation of the bioenergy sector within the province and implementing the BC Bioenergy Strategy. The British Columbia Bioenergy Strategy was designed to help British Columbia reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen its long-term competitiveness and electricity self-sufficiency. The strategy intends to turn the challenges of the mountain pine beetle infestation into new opportunities, and looks to future bioenergy technologies including wood pellets, cogeneration, and biocarbon to foster a sustainable competitive advantage. The BC Bioenergy Strategy directly supports the commitments made in the BC Energy Plan and is a key contributor to achieve our emission reduction goals.
The British Columbia Bioenergy Network
British Columbia has a number of organizations committed to positioning the province to take a leadership role in the advancement of next generation bioenergy on a global basis. Notably, the BC Bioenergy Network was established in 2008 with a $25 million grant from the provincial government, it is an industry-led initiative that is a catalyst for deploying near-term bioenergy technologies and supporting mission-driven research to build a world class bioenergy capability in British Columbia. The BC Bioenergy Network is committed to maximizing the value of BC’s biomass resources; developing mission-driven research development and demonstration projects; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; networking and partnering in BC, Canada, and internationally to advance BC’s bioenergy sector; and levering funding to support BC-focused bioenergy technology and applications.
Wood Pellet Association of Canada
The Wood Pellet Association of Canada is a member-driven organization focused on advancing the interests of Canadian wood pellet producers. Canada is one of the top producers of wood pellets in the world and British Columbia is the source of roughly two-thirds of national pellet production. Around the globe, most of the pellets produced are used domestically. This is not the case in British Columbia, as the principal market exports to power generation facilities in foreign countries.
Wood pellets are principally manufactured from wood waste (typically sawdust and shavings) residuals created in the production of lumber or other solid wood product processing, as well as from wood recovered from grinding and chipping of non-merchantable timber in forests. Pellets have several advantages over other fuel sources, including a consistency in size and shape that makes them easy to transport, and a variety of environmental benefits including a lack of artificial or toxic ingredients that render them hazard-free to handle and eliminates the possibility of toxic spills. In addition, pellets are more efficient than other fuels and offer a net carbon reduction if they displace non-renewable fuels.
Producing pellets out of wood residue is a well-established industry in northern British Columbia. As of 2012, Canada had 42 pellet plants with 3 million tonnes annual production capacity. Of these pellet plants, a total of 9 are located in north central BC. In 2010, Canada's pellet plants operated at about 65% capacity - producing about 1.3 million tonnes per year, while in 2011 almost 1.9 million tonnes of pellet production was exported.
Pinnacle Renewable Energy Group
Pinnacle Renewable Energy Group has plants in Houston and Burns Lake.
Pinnacle Renewable Energy Group, a private company founded by the Swaan family of Quesnel, has been in operation for over twenty years and is the longest established pellet producer in Western Canada. Located in the heart of the lumber industry in central B.C., Pinnacle has access to an excellent and abundant source of raw materials. Pinnacle produces a variety of products carrying their brand name including premium residential and industrial softwood pellet fuels, pine animal bedding pellets, and natural sorbent spill control. Pinnacle also produces custom products for companies in uniquely branded packaging. A large portion of Pinnacle’s production is for the bulk domestic and overseas market.
Today, the company operates six pellet plants across BC with a production capacity of 1.05 million tonnes of wood pellets annually. All plants operate twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Plants in the Northwest are located in Burns Lake and Houston; Pinnacle’s four other plants are in Meadowbank, Quesnel, Williams Lake and Armstrong while the corporate offices are in Prince George and Vancouver.
Fibre supply comes from a mixture of mill residuals, harvesting waste materials, and whole logs. Pinnacle Pellet Inc. currently produces over 500,000 metric tonnes per year of carbon-neutral quality wood fuel pellets.
Making up approximately 90% of its sales, Pinnacle currently ships bulk product to customers throughout North America, Western Europe and Asia. Individual bulk shipments range in size from 40 tonne truckloads and 100 tonne rail hopper cars to 4,000 – 47,000 metric tonne per ship cargo holds. Pinnacle utilizes several BC port facilities including Fibreco Terminal and the Kinder Morgan Terminal in North Vancouver, and the Ridley Terminal in Prince Rupert.
Pinnace Pellet is currently developing the Westview Pellet Terminal at the Port of Prince Rupert.
Tahtsa Pellets, Ltd.
Tahsta Pellets owns and operates Pacific Flame in Burns Lake.
Tahtsa Pellets Ltd. is a family owned and operated business located in Burns Lake. Tahtsa Pellet Ltd.’s innovative plant will turn biomass into pellets for heating. Its plan is located east of Burns Lake and has recently completed its final phase of construction. The plant is able to produce 80,000 metric tonnes of home heating product and a bulk product for large utility operations. Superior quality pellets are produced through the use of an innovative drying and pressing technology. Tahtsa Pellets Ltd. is looking to international markets for the sale of its pellets.
Tahtsa Pellets Ltd. is able to produce bagged product to customer specification for domestic home heating use or for animal bedding. The company is also able to produce bulk product for district heating purposes or large utility operators.
Green Biomass Energy Solutions
Green Biomass Energy Solutions is based in Smithers.
Specializing in biomass based renewable energy technology, Green Biomass Energy Solutions opened its doors in 2008 and has since been improving Northwest businesses’ energy systems. Green Biomass Energy Solutions offers energy systems for residential, agriculture, and commercial users.
Available systems include biomass or vegetable oil power generators, combined heat and power biomass systems, combination-source energy containers, hot water heaters, wood chippers, and pelleting equipment.