Canadian Forest Service Publications

De-risking wood-based bioenergy development in remote and Indigenous communities in Canada. 2021. Buss, J.; Mansuy, N.; Madrali, S. Energies 14(9):2603.

Year: 2021

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40715

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.3390/en14092603

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Remote and Indigenous communities in Canada have a unique opportunity to mobilize the vast amount of wood-based biomass to meet their energy needs, while supporting a local economy, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This study realized in collaboration with five remote and Indigenous communities across Canada investigates the main barriers and potential solutions to developing stable and sustainable wood-based bioenergy systems. Our results highlight that despite the differences in available biomass and geographical context, these communities face common policy, economic, operational, cultural, social, and environmental risks and barriers to developing bioenergy. The communities identified and ranked the biggest barriers as follows; the high initial investment of bioenergy projects, the logistical and operational challenges of developing a sustainable wood supply chain in remote locations, and the limited opportunities for community leadership of bioenergy projects. Environmental risks have been ranked as the least important by all the communities, except for the communities in Manitoba, which ranked it as the second most important risk. However, all the communities agreed that climate change is the main environmental driver disturbing the wood-based bioenergy supply chain. To de-risk the wood-based bioenergy system, we suggest that stable and sustainable supply chains can be implemented by restoring community-based resources management supported by local knowledge and workforce. Using local knowledge can also help reduce the impacts caused by biomass harvesting on the ecosystem and avoid competition with traditional land uses. Including positive externalities to cost benefit analysis, when comparing bioenergy systems to existing energy installation, will likely make bioenergy projects more attractive for the community financially. Alternatively, supporting co-learning between partners and among communities can improve knowledge and innovation sharing.