Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, announced earlier this month that the federal government would invest $53.5 million to “advance the transformation and evolution of Canada’s forest industry.”
The investment – which will be divvied up among 24 companies representing 28 pulp and paper mills across Canada – is part of a program the federal government introduced in 2009 called the Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program. The program was initiated to lay the groundwork for a greener, more sustainable future for Canada’s pulp and paper sector by supporting innovation and environmentally friendly investments in areas such as energy efficiency and renewable energy production, according to the Natural Resources Canada website.
“It will allow pulp and paper mills in Canada to further reduce their greenhouse gas emissions while helping to position them as leaders in the production of renewable energy from forest biomass,” the website says.
The Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program is a credit-based system focused on black liquor. A by-product of chemical pulping, black liquor is typically burned in recovery boilers to recover pulping chemicals for further use and also to generate renewable heat and power for pulping mills. Under this program, pulp mills that produced black liquor between January 1 and December 31, 2009 were eligible for funding.
In order to ensure that the money given out was used for green initiatives, the government stipulated that companies could only use the funding for capital investments at their pulp and paper mills to improve their environmental performance.
“Examples of expenditures that may qualify under this program include new or upgraded cogeneration machinery for heat and power generation, more energy-efficient recovery boilers, more energy-efficient machinery in pulp and paper mills, and machinery to produce liquid ethanol from forest biomass,” the Natural Resources website says.
The Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program falls under the umbrella of The Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan – a plan by the Conservative government to stimulate the economy in a period of global recession.
In light of these projects, some see these investments are about more than just revitalizing Canada’s slumping forestry sector.
“[This] announcement is a strong commitment on the part of the federal government to help build and strengthen an innovative and diversified forest sector for Canada that will sustain job growth and economic development,” said Alan Potter, Vice-President of FPInnovations earlier this month.
For a detailed breakdown of how the money was divided among companies throughout Canada, read this article posted on ForestTalk.
“Harper Government Invests In Transformation of Canada’s Forestry Industry.”
Natural Resources Canada: “Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program”
ForestTalk: “The Breakdown: Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program”