Bio-energy from Mountain Pine Beetle Timber and Forest Residuals: The Economics Story
In light of the large volumes of pine killed in the Interior forests in British Columbia by the mountain pine beetle, many are keen to employ forest biomass as an energy source. To assess the feasibility of a wood biomass-fired power plant in the BC Interior it is necessary to know both how much physical biomass might be available over the life of a plant, but also its location because transportation costs are likely to be a major operating cost for any facility. To address these issues, we construct a mathematical programming model of fiber flows in the Quesnel Timber Supply Area of BC over a 25-year time horizon. The focus of the model is on minimizing the cost of supplying feedstock throughout space and time. Results indicate that over the life of the project feedstock costs will more than double, increasing from $54.60/BDt ($0.039/kWh) to $116.14/BDt ($0.083/kWh).
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