A program that helps rural communities turn wood waste into heat for buildings and homes is being expanded throughout the Interior.
Wood Waste 2 Rural Heat staff will work with District of Clearwater and other communities to explore the feasibility of and develop business plans for new bio-energy projects.
The province is partnering with the Columbia Basin Trust, the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition, the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition and the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition to invest $240,000 over two years in the Wood Waste 2 Rural Heat project.
“The Wood Waste 2 Rural Heat project will grow British Columbia’s bio-energy sector by providing market and industry development assistance to rural communities” said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. “The resulting projects will support job creation and provide energy-cost savings to a region that has been hit hard by the mountain pine beetle infestation.”
Rural British Columbia has a reliable fuel supply of wood waste produced by ecosystem restoration projects, community forests, woodlots and other small tenure holders. Converted into pellets and chips, this woody biomass can power heating projects for smaller communities and businesses, a practice that has been hugely successful in Europe.
According to a 2009 European Union bio-energy report published by 4biomass.eu, Austria has over 1,100 biomass district heating plants in operation with an installed power base of roughly 1,300 megawatts.
To help rural B.C. communities make the leap to wood biomass heating systems, this expanded project – formerly known as the Green Heat Initiative – will work at the local level to develop business plans that identify technological solutions and financing opportunities.
Besides Clearwater, Wood Waste 2 Rural Heat staff will explore bio-energy projects in:
o Village of Telkwa;
o Village of Lumby;
o One project in the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition region;
o Two projects in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition region;
o Two projects in Southern East Kootenay region; and
o One project in the West Kootenay region.