Yukon government adopts biomass energy strategy

February 23, 2016

By: CBC News

The Yukon Government has officially adopted a strategy to get Yukoners to heat their homes in a way that it says is cost-effective and environmentally sustainable.

The government drafted its biomass strategy last year, noting that wood-fueled heating systems are present in just 20 per cent of Yukon homes.

Yukoners spend $60 million a year on fossil fuels, a figure the government wants reduced.

Shane Andre with the Yukon Government’s Energy Solutions says creating and supporting a biomass industry in the Yukon makes more sense than trucking in fossil fuels.

“[With] just five per cent of what burns naturally in the territory, we could heat every building in the territory,” said Shane Andre with Energy Solutions.

Andre says burning wood would help promote a sustainable forest industry in the territory. He also says burning wood is considered carbon neutral.

“As long as we are allowing the forest to regrow, the carbon monoxide emissions we release when we burn it will be returned to the tree and therefore is a neutral cycle.”

Andre says it’s important Yukoners make sure they’re using a woodstove, that’s approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and one that’s installed properly.

“Make sure you’re burning dry wood and make sure you’re keeping a hot fire box,” he says “if you do those key things you’ll find that emissions from that fire are very low.”

Wood pellets have heated the Whitehorse Correctional Centre since it opened four years ago and the government wants to use more biomass energy for government infrastructure.

Andre says there’s no reason the main government building couldn’t be heated with wood in the future.

 

By: CBC News

Your comments.

  1. Bob Thomas says:

    Heating with wood should not be categorized in the same slot as heating with wood pellets, which at least one government facility is doing in Whitehorse. To get good heat by burning stove wood and not contribute substantially to lowering air quality means burning seasoned hardwoods, and other than birch, I don’t know what species or what quantities are available to Yukoners. Burning with wood pellets on the other hand spawns a new industry and employment, and means that that all sorts of softwood fibres and residual materials left over from sawmilling can be used in making a quality wood pellet which will rival any hardwoods in heat production. Wood pellets, burned in a certified pellet burning appliance result in almost complete combustion, very little if any smoke and are absolutely carbon neutral. In addition to using pellets to heat homes, there are larger boiler systems using wood pellets to heat larger areas or facilities, such as the correctional facility in Whitehorse, and in following the example of northern Europeans, there are combined heat and power (CHP) projects using biomass and pellets to provide heat and power to entire smaller communities.

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