NEB report addresses biomass power generation in Canada

By Erin Voegele | May 08, 2017

The National Energy Board recently released a report on Canada’s adoption of renewable power sources, reporting the country generates a larger share of its electricity from renewable sources than most other developed economies in the world.

The report includes direct comparisons of how Canada ranks internationally for renewable power adoption and covers factors that affect the update of renewable sources, including financial costs, reliability and environmental impacts. It addresses a wide range of renewable technologies, including biomass.

The report shows Canada had approximately 70 biomass generating power plants in 2014 with a total installed capacity of 2,408 MW. This includes facilities that rely on wood, wood byproducts and landfill gas. Overall, biomass accounts for 1.7 percent of Canada’s electric generation capacity, and 1.9 percent of actual generation. In 2015, 12,161 gigawatt hours of biomass-based electricity were produced. From 2005 to 2015, biomass generation grew by 54 percent.

Within Canada, provinces with the highest biomass use are those with active pulp, paper and forestry industries, including Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, and New Brunswick. While few landfills in Canada recover methane for use in energy production, the report notes that some Canadian municipalities actively produce energy waste using either landfills or anaerobic digestion facilities. Landfill gas is also converted into pipeline-quality renewable natural gas in some locations.

Internationally, the report shows that biomass generation reached 518 terawatt hours in 2015, which accounts for approximately 2 percent of global power generation. Most generation is attributed to solid biofuels, such as wood pellets and chips. However, biogas, municipal solid waste and biofuels are also used to generate power.

A full copy of the report, titled “Canada’s Adoption of Renewable Power Sources,” can be downloaded from the NEB website