Canadian Forest Service Publications

Estimates of residual fibre supply and the impacts of new bioenergy capacity from a forest sector transportation model of the Canadian Prairie Provinces. 2016. Peter, B.; Niquidet, K. Forest Policy and Economics 69, 62–72

Year: 2016

Available from: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 36927

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2016.05.003

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Abstract

Increasing interest in making use of forest sector processing residuals for renewable energy production has led to the need for careful analyses of fibre supply, and the ways in which existing forest sector firms could be affected by new sources of fibre demand. In this paper we present a forest sector transportation model of the three Canadian Prairie Provinces, and use the model to estimate residual fibre production, utilization and surpluses, as well as some potential forest sector impacts from bioenergy capacity additions. Under our base-case assumptions and using 2010 product prices, we estimate that 6.9 million cubic meters (round-wood equivalent) of processing residuals would be traded over the course of a year, with sawmills being the most significant source and pulp and paper mills being the most significant user. Approximately 33% of residuals would be used to produce bioenergy related products (wood pellets, electricity sold to the grid, or internal electricity and power at pulp mills). Results show that some surpluses of processing residuals may be present in the existing supply chain, though the availability of these residuals is sensitive to lumber prices. At the same time, new bioenergy capacity itself may trigger higher sawmill output, making additional fibre available for both new and existing users. Roadside harvesting residuals are not an economically viable source of fibre under our base-case assumptions; however, their viability is sensitive to roadside processing costs and electricity prices.

Plain Language Summary

This study uses a computer model to estimate residual fibre production, utilization and surpluses in the forest sector of the three Canadian Prairie Provinces. The model is also used to estimate some potential impacts to the forest sector if new bioenergy facilities are opened. Under base-case assumptions and using 2010 product prices, it is estimated that 6.9 million cubic meters (round-wood equivalent) of processing residuals would change hands over the course of a year, with sawmills being the most significant source and pulp and paper mills being the most significant user. Approximately 33% of residuals would be used to produce bioenergy-related products (wood pellets, electricity sold to the grid, or internal electricity and power at pulp mills). Results show some potential for new processing facilities that can utilize processing residuals, though the availability of these residuals depends heavily on lumber prices. When new bioenergy capacity is added to the model, sawmill output increases making additional fibre available for both new and existing users. Roadside harvesting residuals are not an economically viable source of fibre under base-case assumptions; however this can change if roadside processing costs decline and if electricity prices increase. This research will be informative given the current interest in bioenergy as a means to diversify the forest sector and offset fossil fuel use.

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