2007-12-16

B.C. looks to tree debris for electricity

Aiming to unlock the energy-generating potential of its iconic forests, British Columbia is weighing new policies that would encourage companies to buy debris left over from logging operations to use as fuel in power plants.

The policies, which have been discussed at meetings between government, industry and provincially owned B.C. Hydro in recent months, are part of an emerging bio-energy strategy that should be in place by mid-January, says provincial Forests Minister Rich Coleman.

A key part of that plan is tapping the power potential of wood left behind by logging operations – a pile that's only going to get bigger as the province's record pine beetle infestation runs its course. Over time, beetle-killed trees warp, dry and split, making them less valuable or useless as lumber.