Ontario is well ontrack to be one of the first industrialized jurisdictions in the world to eliminate coal-fired electrical generation. The original plan was for Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to transition to a lower carbon future by phasing out the use of coal at its four remaining coal-fuelled stations by the end of 2014, but things are proceeding ahead of schedule already! This possibility is due to wide a variety of contributing factors, with one of the most compelling ones being a clear option to convert these plants to burning BioWaste – if indeed the cost of natural gas proves to be too volatile or costly by comparison.
Of course, there’s a whole range of other considerations to factor into this decision, and alot of due-diligence still to be performed. But the considerable economic and ecological benefits to converting bio mass and waste into usable fuel has everyone at OPG considering the very real possibilities of a BioWaste fueled future.
As a world supplier of primary resources like lumber and oil, Canadians were once stereotyped a “hewers of wood” working in a pristine green wilderness of fresh water and never-ending forests. Nowadays, thanks to the Eco-PR efforts of organizations like Greenpeace, Canada has gained more notoriety for oilsands that are widely regarded as a filthy and enormously wasteful source of fossil-fuel energy. A source of fuel who’s extraction is made economically feasible only by high price of crude oil yet without factoring in the environmental impact and future cleanup costs down the line. So much for “Green” stereotypes.
Forestry and Agriculture, on the other hand, are still a clearly green and renewable resources that are poised to turn into major sources of power production via the alluring prospects of widespread BioMass generation methods. No longer will we simply see crops and trees as a source of food for cities, construction materials and wooden poles for transmitting power along roadways, but rather as sources of feedstock for secondary green industries that can use otherwise wasted bio-mass to actually generate power for those very same hydro lines.
The question is, what stands in the way of displacing coal and natural gas from our current power supply, and how will bio-mass be different than burning any other fuel for electricity?