Province reviews report on biomass heating

The Forestry Commission has presented government with the first comprehensive review of the biomass heating sector in PEI. 

As a first step to implementing the PEI Forestry Commission’s recommendations on biomass, the province will review and update its process for assessing proposed biomass projects that require an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

“The commission rightly pointed out that our environmental assessment process for new projects needs to take a closer look at the impact of harvesting wood for biomass, both in terms of preserving our forests and understanding the net impact on carbon emissions. The recommendation to amend the existing EIA process makes a great deal of sense to me, and we will begin work on this immediately.” 

- Environment, Energy and Climate Action Minister Steven Myers

Under the Environmental Protection Act, an EIA is required for any project that may have significant effect on the environment. This includes projects related to forestry. 

In response to another of the commission’s recommendations, the province will begin work on a biomass policy to include defining key terms such as biomass fuel, mixed residue, and sustainable biomass harvest. These definitions will be added to the biomass harvest guidelines under existing supply contracts and may be incorporated into provincial legislation if necessary.

The commission has reviewed existing supply contracts for the forty-four provincially owned buildings that are heated with wood biomass, in light of the Auditor General’s January 2023 recommendation on the sustainability of wood harvested for biomass to heat public buildings. The province will review the contracts to see if it is possible to standardize them.

“The commission has provided valuable advice on measures to improve our biomass contracts to supply biomass for provincial buildings,” continued Minister Myers. “We will also explore reasonable and attainable measures of compliance on sustainable biomass harvesting. I commend the commission for pointing out these areas for improvement of existing processes.” 

Sustainability of Biomass Utilisation – an issue analysis by the Prince Edward Island Forestry Commission contains five recommendations related to biomass use in the province.

Media contact:
Katie Cudmore
Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action

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