Job Smart

Pellets create Canadian jobs

Grand Falls General Hospital’s biomass boiler system consumes about 400 metric tonnes of wood pellets annually.

The wood pellet industry already employs thousands across Canada in manufacturing, harvesting and transportation. It has the potential to create many more thousands of jobs across Canada by replacing more expensive and less sustainable heating fuels.

There are already some great examples of the industry thriving locally. In 2014, Grand Falls General Hospital in Grand Falls, N.B., replaced its out-dated oil heat boiler system with a biomass boiler. Pellets that fuel the boiler are sourced from a local mill, which creates direct jobs and supports the viability of the local forest sector by creating an outlet for sawmill residual and low-grade timber.

New Brunswick, like all provinces in Canada, has a percentage of the population using heating fuels that are more expensive than wood pellets – propane, oil and, in most provinces, electricity to heat. That percentage is the highest in Atlantic Canada where natural gas for home heating is rare. One study by the magazine Canadian Biomass estimated that if just five per cent of Canadian households that currently use expensive heating fuels converted to wood pellet heating, 1,400 jobs would be created.

As the former Forest Products Association of Canada’s (FPAC) vice-president of environmental leadership Mark Hubert noted in Canadian Biomass magazine, “From a social perspective, bioenergy also creates more permanent employment than other energy sources. Considering the same capital investment, bioenergy creates twice as many jobs as other types of renewable energy and three times as many jobs as fossil fuels.”

That’s keeping the home fires burning.

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