Implications of Expanding Bioenergy Production from Wood in British Columbia: An Application of a Regional Wood Fibre Allocation Model
Energy has been produced from woody biomass in British Columbia for many decades, but it was used primarily within the pulp and paper sector, using residual streams from timber processing, to create heat and electricity for on-site use. More recently, there has been limited stand-alone electricity production and increasing capacity to produce wood pellets, with both using ‘waste’ from the sawmill sector. Hence, most of the low-cost feedstock sources associated with traditional timber processing is now fully employed. While previous studies model bioenergy production in isolation, we employ a transportation model of the BC forest sector with 24 regions to demonstrate that it is necessary to consider the interaction between utilization of woody feedstock for pellet production and electricity generation and its traditional uses (e.g., production of pulp, oriented strand board, etc). We find that, despite the availability of large areas of mountain pine beetle killed timber, this wood does not enter the energy mix. Further expansion of biofeedstock for energy is met by a combination of woody debris collected at harvesting sites and/or bidding away of fibre from existing users.
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