Canadian Forest Service Publications

Bioenergy Mitigation Potential: Refining Displaced Emissions from British Columbia’s Heat and Electricity Production. 2018. Smyth, C., Howard, C. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria, British Columbia. Information report BC-X-442. 13 p.

Year: 2018

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39189

Language: English

Series: Information Report (PFC - Victoria)

Availability: PDF (download)

Mark record


A previous national-level study examined the mitigation potential of bioenergy produced through the combustion of harvest residues. In the current study, we determine how the estimated displaced emissions in British Columbia could change from the use of bioenergy, compared to the previous analysis, by refining the spatial allocation of fuel mix and energy demand. The spatial refinement of fuels throughout the province resulted in a higher mitigation potential, which was related to the larger demand associated with industrial facilities in low population regions. The potential impacts of a high carbon tax on the mitigation potential of bioenergy were also estimated by using the predicted fuel mix and energy use from an additional future carbon tax model. When compared to the previous national-level study, this scenario resulted in a lower mitigation potential, which was related to the anticipated fuel mix switching to a lower emissions fuel mix. This analysis suggests that the use of harvest residues for bioenergy in British Columbia has the potential to help the forest sector mitigate climate change through reduced carbon emissions, especially when harvest residues are used to meet the energy demand of industrial facilities throughout the province.

Plain Language Summary

Forests within Canada can play a part in the mitigation of climate change, through strategies involving forest management and society’s use of wood products. In this report, we examined how bioenergy could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the substitution of more carbon intensive fuels, such as coal or fuel oil. This study builds upon a previous study by Smyth et al. (2016a), but refined the heat and electricity demand in British Columbia based on spatial location. Additionally, the impact of a high carbon tax on the mitigation potential of bioenergy was assessed by using the predicted fuels and energy use from a carbon tax model by English et al. (2016). This report provides a summary of the mitigation potentials of producing bioenergy from harvest residues in British Columbia, and provides explanations for reductions or increases in mitigation potential of different energy and fuel use situations in the province. The study found that using harvest residues for bioenergy in British Columbia can reduce GHG emissions, especially in areas where industrial facilities are common.

Also available under the title:
Potentiel d’atténuation au moyen de la bioénergie: raffinage des émissions déplacées de sources thermiques et électriques en Colombie-Britannique (French)