From coal to wood thermoelectric energy production: a review and discussion of potential socio-economic impacts with implications for Northwestern Ontario, Canada

  • Jason Ernest Elvin Dampier
  • Chander Shahi
  • Raynald Harvey Lemelin
  • Nancy Luckai
Open Access
Review

Abstract

The province of Ontario in Canada is the first North American jurisdiction withlegislation in place to eliminate coal-fired thermoelectric production by theend of 2014. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) operates coal-fired stations inOntario, with Atikokan Generating Station being the only facility slated toswitch to 100% woody biomass. It is anticipated that this coal phase out policywill have socio-economic impacts. Because of these anticipated changes, in thispaper, we review the current state of peer-reviewed literature relating to threeburning scenarios (biomass, coal and co-firing) in order to explore theknowledge gaps with regard to socio-economic impacts and identify research needswhich should elucidate the anticipated changes on a community level. We reviewedover 150 sources, which included peer-reviewed articles and non-peer-reviewedgrey literature such as government documents, non-governmental organizationreports and news publications. We found very few peer-reviewed articles relatedto Canadian studies (even fewer for Ontario) which look at woody biomass burningfor thermoelectric production. We identify a number of socio-economic impactassessment tools readily available and present potential criteria required inselecting an appropriate tool for the Ontario context. For any tool to providemeaningful results, we propose that appropriate and robust local data must becollected and analyzed.

Keywords

Atikokan Bioenergy Boreal Electricity generation Energy security Lignite coal Social impacts Wood pellets Gross regional product 

Abbreviations

AGS

Atikokan Generating Station

CO2

Carbon dioxide

ENGO

Environmentalnon-governmental organization

GEMI

Global Environmental Management Initiative

GHG

Greenhouse gases

kWh

Kilowatt hour

MJ

Mega joule

MOE

Ontario Ministry ofthe Environment

OPG

Ontario Power Generation

PPI

Progress out of PovertyIndicator

SEAT

Socio-economic assessment toolbox.

Review

The province of Ontario in Canada has demonstrated its will to expand renewableenergy production, encourage energy conservation and create ‘green’ jobswith the passing of the Green Energy Act of 2009 [1, 2]. These changes have been recognized by one of Canada's most visibleenvironmental non-governmental organizations (ENGO), the David Suzuki Foundation,that Ontario's green energy policies are the most far reaching in North America interms of clean energy, innovation and jobs [3]. The province is also the first jurisdiction in North America withlegislation in place to eliminate coal-fired thermoelectric production, making coaluse illegal by the end of 2014 [4, 5, 6]. In order to be in compliance, the facilities are required to follow allestablished certificates of approval for air, water and land emissions issued by theOntario Ministry of the Environment (MOE). Although non-compliance would be highlyunlikely after the legislation goes into effect, penalties could be established bythe MOE, should a generating station burn coal after 2014.

It is anticipated that these coal phase out policy changes will have socio-economicimpacts in all regions where Ontario Power Generation (OPG) operates coal-firedstations, with Atikokan Generating Station (AGS) being the only facility slated toswitch to 100% woody biomass [7], while other coal-burning stations such as Lambton and Nanticoke areslated for decommissioning before the 2014 deadline. In this paper, we definesocio-economic impacts in general terms as social and economic well-being ofcommunity members, with well-being defined, ‘as a person's quality of life.This is influenced by a range of factors, including work, family, community, health,personal values, personal freedom and a person's financial situation [8]’. Positive socio-economic impacts provided by a company'sinvolvement in a community can include creating jobs, inducing jobs in othersectors, providing physical infrastructure such as parks and recreation centres,paying municipal taxes and providing charitable donations to civic and communitygroups. Woody biomass in this paper refers to wood pellets produced from sawdust andforest harvest residues of commercial spruce, pine and fir species. Woody biomass isalso obtained from harvesting other underutilized species like white birch(Betula papyrifera Marsh.) and poplar (Populus spp.).Depending on site conditions and tree species, Canadian boreal forest practicestypically follow a 60- to 100-year harvesting cycle. The AGS will require a total of90,000 oven-dried tonnes of biomass wood pellets per year for full conversion [9, 10, 11, 12]. This value should be easily achievable. Alam and others demonstratedthat there is adequate forest harvest residue and underutilized wood biomassfeedstock available in Northwestern Ontario to meet the demand [13]. Furthermore, woody biomass stock would also likely come from sawmillresidues and waste, further reducing the pressure on forest resources.

Although Ontario is fully converting to non-coal options, many jurisdictions employco-firing (burning coal along with woody biomass), which is often seen as moreenvironmentally desirable than burning 100% coal, since a portion of the greenhousegas (GHG) emissions will be from fossil fuels and a portion from renewable energy [14]. Co-firing is becoming more common and is being practised at a commercialscale in many countries such as the USA, Finland, Denmark, Germany and Belgium [15]. The ratio of coal to woody biomass is very site specific, and it dependson a number of factors such as furnace and boiler design, physical and chemical fuelcharacteristics, fuel handling and milling units [15]. Utilizing a life cycle approach at AGS, Zhang and others [16] indicated that co-firing woody biomass (as an alternative to 100% coal)can be an economically feasible option to reduce GHG emissions in the Ontariocontext.

At present (2011 values), nuclear power generating stationsa meet 56.9% ofdemand and are running at full load throughout a full 24-h period in order to meetenergy base load demand. [17]. Base load is considered the minimum level of power demand. Nuclear powerideally meets this base load demand since it has a high electrical productioncapacity and relatively low production cost. However, nuclear power has lesscapacity to adjust to fluctuations in demand. Hydroelectric power generation meets22.2% of demand and responds to variations in load to meet the peak demand. Peakproduction stations are employed to make up capacity at maximum demand periods andin emergency situations [17]. These can transition from idle to full power production in short periodsto meet these temporary and sometimes unpredictable demands. Peak demand is variableover the course of daily and yearly cycles and is in part contingent on weatherconditions and is managed to a degree with time-of-use pricing.

As an important renewable energy source, hydroelectric plants provide‘flexibility in base loading, peaking and energy storage applications’ [18]. Many smaller hydroelectric generating stations reduce productionovernight, storing water to meet peak demand during the following day, with only thelargest hydroelectric stations running throughout the night. If the demand exceedssupply by smaller hydroelectric stations, the natural gas generating stations, whichmeet 14.7% of demand, begin production. Under this regime, coal, which only meets2.7% of demand, is used as a last resort for voltage supportb. The use ofcoal for power generation has been on a steady decline (Figure 1). Recent additions to Ontario's power mix include wind, which meets2.6% of demand, with all other energy sources (including solar power) meeting 0.8%of Ontario's power demand [4, 19, 20].
Figure 1

Historical changes in fuel supply used for electricity production from2003 to 2011. Raw data from Ontario's Independent Electricity SystemOperator News Releases from 2004 to 2012 [21] were used to establish a 9-year tread (2003 to 2011) forOntario's electricity power mix in order to provide an Ontario context.Nuclear (yellow line) and hydro (blue line) production levels have remainedrelatively constant over the period. Electricity produced from coal (greyline) has been steadily decreasing over the time period. In 2008, IESOceased to report natural gas, oil, wind and alternative fuel sourcestogether (Other 1, dark purple line) and broke it apart to report gas (pinkline), wind (magenta) and Other 2 (light purple) separately.

Regardless of the electrical energy fuel source, each option has its ownenvironmental consequences such as release of GHGs, particulates, nitrous oxidesand/or sulphur dioxide [22, 23]. As public support for coal and other fossil fuels continues to wane,renewable sources are being sought [24, 25, 26, 27, 28] with biomass-fired power becoming a viable renewable energy optionpartially because this technology is ‘rapidly deployable, low-risk, regionallyindigenous, and inherently grid-compatible [29]’. Wind and solar energy do not possess these characteristics sincethey depend on weather conditions [17]. Furthermore, woody biomass can provide (1) reserve capacity during peakdemand, (2) capacity during routine maintenance at other generating stations and (3)resilience in the power grid, should other generating stations go offline in anemergency.

Whenever the use of woody biomass for power generation is introduced, a variety ofpublic opinions may arise. On the one hand, woody biomass for power generation hasmany of the above-mentioned benefits; on the other, there is documented publicopposition [30, 31]. The Greenpeace report, ‘Fueling a Biomess’, is critical ofCanadian provinces' efforts to stimulate biomass fuel for electricity production [32]. The report critiques are directed to the government's ‘biomassextraction policies and subsidies [32]’, and it outlines a number of recommendations to government, manyof which represent socio-economic impacts. These include (1) suspend the approval ofnew bioenergy proposals and conduct a review of existing projects, their woodallocations and their impacts on communities, climate and forests, (2) precludelow-efficiency electricity-only production from forest biomass and require thatwaste heat of biomass electric plants be utilized locally and (3) support theproduction of higher value wood products from public forests to optimize jobcreation, minimize resource extraction and develop sustainable solutions forforest-based communities [32].

Recommendations such as these imply that the forest management planning process doesnot routinely incorporate socio-economic considerations. In contrast, forestpractitioners, with the responsibility for managing public forests in Ontario,operate under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act (1994) [33] that includes requirements for public consultation and recognizes thenecessity for both economic and ecological sustainability. This legislation isimplemented through a series of management guides [34] developed to ensure the protection of multiple forest values includingcultural heritage [35], resource-based tourism [36], biodiversity [37], natural disturbance pattern emulation [38] and species of interest (e.g. marten [39], woodland caribou [40]). Guide revision is ongoing, science-based, overseen by a joint committee(which includes government, industry, First Nations, academia) and subject to reviewevery 5 years [41]. Despite the processes in place, challenges such as those raised byGreenpeace need to be addressed through standard research protocols.

Therefore, the objectives of this paper are (1) to determine the current state ofpeer-reviewed literature relating to coal, biomass and co-fire burning in Ontarioand to relate the current state of knowledge nationally and globally, lookingoutside of Ontario when necessary for insights into the Ontario context and (2) toexplore the knowledge gaps with regard to socio-economic impacts, under threescenarios which include 100% biomass burning, 100% coal burning and co-firing.

Methods

In order to determine generally the current state of peer-reviewed literaturerelating to biomass burning for thermoelectric generation in Ontario and toidentify knowledge gaps in the peer-reviewed literature, the Thomson Reuters(ISI) Web of Knowledgec[42] was used to find articles covering the utilization of wood-basedbiomass in thermoelectric power generating stations. This preliminary search wascarried out by following the Boolean search string: ‘biomass’,‘wood*’ and ‘thermoelectric*’. Asterisks were used asthey provide the function of a ‘wildcard’ thus increasing thelikelihood of words with suffixes being included in the search. We alsopreliminarily searched simply ‘Atikokan’ in order to help usestablish a baseline of all studies conducted in the Atikokan region.

Secondly, since Ontario policy dictates that alternatives to coal must beimplemented, we also conducted a more in-depth literature search related tothree common burning scenarios:

  • 100% coal: this was searched since coal is the fuel sourcethat is being phased out at AGS. Although it is not widely used in Canada, it isglobally the second most important fuel after oil accounting for 27% of worldprimary energy demand [4],

  • 100% biomass: this was searched since biomass is being phasedin at AGS. Furthermore, biomass is experiencing more attention globally, forexample, increases in demand in Europe as they seek to power industry and reduceGHG emissions concurrently [43] and

  • Co-firing coal with biomass: this was searched since co-firinghas been an experimental intermediate stage at AGS and is employed in manyjurisdictions as a shorter term low-cost option to reduce GHG emissions [44].

In this second search, we used the following Boolean topic search in ThomsonReuters (ISI) Web of Knowledge: (‘biomass’, ‘wood*’,‘coal’ or ‘co-fire’) and (‘employ*’,‘product*’ or ‘community*’) and(‘electric*’). We used the search term ‘electric*’rather than ‘thermoelectric*’ as we did in the preliminary search inorder to broaden our results. Then, this search was narrowed down separately twomore times, the first one by only adding the term ‘Canada’ to theoriginal topic search and the second one by only adding the term‘Ontario’ to the original search. Results where then presented in apie graph.

Following this, we identified and used relevant articles indicated throughforward and backward citations in Thomson Reuters (ISI) Web of Knowledge andGoogle Scholard[45]. Google Scholar was used in order to reduce the likelihood thatrelated sources would be missed. Additionally, we also investigated thenon-peer-reviewed literature such as grey literature and news publications asoftentimes useful information relevant to studies such as ours can be found inthese source types.

From the retrieved sources utilizing the various above-mentioned methods, onlythose relevant to this paper were included and used to establish a relativeabundance of articles categorized by Literature Type,Location, Impacts, Fuel and Combinations.Then, based on the current state of knowledge and gaps, we discuss potentialmethods for future work, which should elucidate the anticipated policy changeson a community level.

Results and discussion

Our findings from the preliminary Thomson Reuters (ISI) Web of Knowledge searchindicate that very few Canadian peer-reviewed articles investigate biomassburning in thermoelectric generating stations. For example, the search(‘biomass’ and ‘wood*’ and‘thermoelectric*’) yielded six articles of which only one [46] has any direct bearing to this review. The search‘Atikokan’ retrieved 45 articles, with only 8 of these articleshaving any bearing on this review further indicating that limited work has beenconducted to date which is Atikokan-specific [7, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51].

The secondary search (‘biomass’ or ‘wood*’ or‘coal’ or ‘co-fire’) and (‘employ*’or,‘product*’ or ‘community*’) and(‘electric*’) was followed by the narrowing term (and‘Canada’), and again, the narrowing term (and ‘Ontario’)indicated that out of the 4,954 articles retrieved, only 93 addressed Canada andonly 10 addressed Ontario (Figure 2), of which manyfrom Canada or Ontario were actually not suitable sources for this study. Sincethe literature indicates that most research has been conducted outside ofOntario, Canada, we had to rely primarily on these studies from otherjurisdictions.
Figure 2

Relative abundance of Canada- and Ontario-based peer-reviewedpapers. The search (‘biomass’ or ‘coal’or ‘co-fire’) and (‘employ*’or‘product*’ or ‘community*’) and(‘electric*) yielded 4,954 articles, of which 4,851 articles werefrom outside Canada [42]. The first narrowed down search which included the searchterm ‘Canada’ yielded 93 articles. The second narrowed downsearch which included the search term ‘Ontario’ yielded 10articles.

From the results of our second query, it was noted that the top five countries'institutional affiliations are (1) United States, (2) People's Republic ofChina, (3) England, (4) Germany and (5) Sweden. However, this list might bemisleading since it reflects countries where universities and other researchinstitutions are located but not necessarily where the research is taking placeon the ground. This list also does not indicate where biomass utilization iscurrently being employed on a production scale although ‘abundantresources and favourable policies’ have allowed Northern Europe and theUnited States to expand biomass utilization for power [52]. Wherever possible, we have generalized and related these findings tothe Ontario context, addressing the local socio-economic impacts relating to100% biomass burning, 100% coal burning and co-firing biomass with coal.

We reviewed over 150 sources in depth, which included peer-reviewed articles andnon-peer-reviewed grey literature such as government documents, non-governmentalorganization (NGO) reports and news publications. Of those sources, 74 bearingrelevance to our study were cited and summarized in Table 1. It became apparent that a gap exists in the peer-reviewedliterature related to Canadian studies investigating woody biomass burning forthermoelectric production. We found eight sources which discuss biomass burningin Canada (relevant to this study), of which only three are peer-reviewedjournal articles. Out of the 74 sources cited in this paper, only 27 of theseare peer-reviewed journal articles, with the other articles being classed asacademic text books or government, NGO, corporation and trade publications(Table 1). Although non-peer-reviewed literatureis an excellent source for knowledge, it is not always subject to the sameacademic critical review as peer-reviewed journal articles are subjected to.
Table 1

Publications identified and reviewed based on fuel location andimpacts

 

Number

Percent

Literature type

  

 Peer review

27

36.49

 Government publication

16

21.62

 Academic textbook

6

8.11

 Corporation publication

5

6.76

 NGO publication

7

9.46

 International Governmental Agency

3

4.05

 Trade publication

3

4.05

 Newspaper/magazine

3

4.05

 Other

4

5.41

 Total

74

100.00

Location

  

 Canada

35

47.30

 Generalized global

15

20.27

 Abroad

9

12.16

 US

6

8.11

 Multiple jurisdictions

5

6.76

 N/A

4

5.41

 Total

74

100.00

Fuel

  

 N/A

22

29.73

 Biomass

18

24.32

 Multiple fuels

17

22.97

 Coal

10

13.51

 Co-fire

4

5.41

 Other

3

4.05

 Total

74

100.00

Combinations

  

 Peer review and Canada

9

 

 Canada and biomass

8

 

 Peer review, Canada and biomass

3

 

Over 150 articles were reviewed, and 74 are cited here and tagged toliterature type, location, fuels and novel combinations.

A primary factor in assessing local socio-economic impacts is the extent to whicheconomic activities remain within the region. In Canada, thermoelectric stationsare often built near the fuel source, commonly known as mine-mouth [53], examples include Boundary Dam Power Station and Poplar River PowerStation in Saskatchewan and Sheerness Thermal Generating Station in Alberta.However, AGS has no nearby mine and uses lignite coal, which is shippedapproximately 1,000 km on rail from Bienfait, Saskatchewan. Althoughlignite coal and wood pellets tend to have similar energy density(Table 2), woody biomass is still more expensiveto produce and hence generally requires short transportation distances to bemost cost-effective [17, 54] in the absence of subsidies or other incentives. The data inTable 2 are primarily quantitative in nature andgenerally a good indicator of differences in the three burning scenarios.However, a potential weakness of the values presented is related to varyingmarket conditions. It is possible that these values for coal, biomass andco-firing may fluctuate, potentially rendering these values less helpful inreality and in the Ontario context.
Table 2

Comparison of local socio-economic impact factors of burningscenarios

Fuel

Gross calorific value (MJ/kg)

Cost per weight ($/kg)

Cost per caloric value ($/MJ)

Transportation in Canada

Transportation to Aikokan, ON

Relative GHG emissions and carbon neutrality hypothesis(g CO2/kWh*h)

Waste by-products and disposal

Coal

25 to 27 [17, 55, 56] 7 to 18 (lignite) [57]

0.05 [58]

$0.0019/MJ to $0.0020/MJ (lignite)

Mine mouth in many instances 1,000 s of km primarily byrail, with some road depending on where production facilityis located [53, 59]

Lignite coal is currently shipped approximately 1,000 kmfrom Benoit, SK. All fuel production is located well outsideAtikokan's jurisdiction.

850 to 1116 [22, 60] Coal releases carbon which was sequestered 225 to345 million years ago [55, 61].

Fly ash can be used in environmental applications wheremarkets dictate [49, 50, 62].

Wood Pellets

17 to 22 [15, 17, 55]

0.21 to 0.30 [63, 64]

$0.012/MJ to $0.014/MJ

Transported 100 s of km primarily by road with some rail [54]

Relatively high cost per unit energy ($/MJ) necessitatesrelatively short transportation distance from wood pelletproduction facility.

39 to 80 [22] May be carbon neutral [51, 65, 66] Releasing carbon which was sequestered within thepast 200 years [67]

Can be used for agricultural and forestry purposes [68, 69]

Co-fire

Depending on fuel mix, values will vary between coal and woodpellets.

Depending on fuel mix, values will vary between coal and woodpellets.

Depending on fuel mix, values will vary between coal and woodpellets.

Depending on fuel mix, values will vary between coal and woodpellets.

Depending on fuel mix, values will vary between coal and woodpellets.

883 to 906 [22]

A potential concrete additive [46]

MJ/kg, Megajoule per kilogramme; $/kg, dollars per kilogramme; $/MJ,dollars per megajoule; g CO2/kWh*h, grammes of carbondioxide per kilowatt hour, hour.

The phase out from coal to biomass in Atikokan has the potential to provide newlocal benefits such as necessitating a local biomass supply chain [15], and it is speculated that it could not only secure current jobs butalso create new ones [54]. It has been reported that a greater number of people can benefitfrom woody biomass production since direct labour inputs for woody biomassproduction can range anywhere from 2 to 3 times [65] up to 20 times [15] greater than coal.

The utilization of woody biomass in co-firing, as with 100% biomass, has thepotential to develop localized wood pellet industries (albeit on a smallerscale) which can benefit local rural economies [70]. However, local benefit from woody biomass may not always berealized. If the quantity of required wood pellets is low relative to coal, itmay be more feasible to transport biomass a greater distance rather than createa local production facility.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) recently publisheda report evaluating 10 assessment tools for evaluating a company'ssocio-economic impact [71]. Their criteria for inclusion were twofold. Firstly, for a tool to beincluded, it had to focus solely on socio-economic impacts, and secondly, it hadto be developed primarily for business. The document presents and defines the 10tools, assessing them on 9 dimensions. The dimensions fall under two broadcategories: (1) strategic fit (i.e. secure licence to operate, improve businessenabling environment, strengthen value chains, fuel product and serviceinnovation) and (2) applicable levels (i.e. site, value chain, business line,company operations at the national level and company). For each tool, thedocument also outlines the degree of guidance provided, data requirements, levelof effort and example case studies.

In order to properly evaluate the impacts of AGS transition from coal to biomass,choosing the most appropriate method is imperative. Of the nine dimensionsoutlined in the WBCSD report, we identified ‘maintaining license tooperate’ as a key dimension for evaluating potential methods for an impactassessment at AGS since this dimension is concerned with determining howbusiness activities create ‘net benefits for the economies and societiesin which they operate [71]’. Furthermore, the ‘site’ level is most appropriatefor the Atikokan context since we are most concerned with how the provincialcoal cessation legislation affects the AGS site and nearby community. Selectingand employing a tool which address these two dimensions should effectivelycapture how changes at AGS affect the community.

Also, when evaluating a major change in a small town's primary industry, we feelthat the selected tool must be readily available in order to expediteimplementation and allow for future comparative analysis across other sites orcontexts. A tool for the Atikokan context also needs to best lend itself to adeveloped country scenario. For example, one of the tools, ‘Progress outof Poverty (PPI)’ [71] would not likely be a viable option for Atikokan. Based on thesecriteria, possible candidate tools exist and may include the GlobalEnvironmental Management Initiative (GEMI) Metrics Navigator [72], measuring impact framework [73], or socio-economic assessment toolbox (SEAT) [74]. Regardless of the tool, each needs to be evaluated on its own meritand ‘on functionality, fit for purpose, and cost and complexity ofimplementation [71]’.

Conclusions

In this review paper, we explored the literature related to burning coal and woodybiomass for thermoelectric production with specific reference to socio-economicimpacts. It was identified that changes in Ontario's energy policy which include thetotal ban on coal burning will have wide-reaching effects on how electricity will beproduced in the province. Since there is very little peer-reviewed research thatdirectly relates to the province of Ontario (and Canada) and the transitions set totake place at AGS, we see this as a timely research opportunity.

We propose that the use of a carefully selected socio-economic impact tool couldeffectively characterize potential socio-economic impacts as a community anticipatestransitions related to a wholesale change in fuel utilization in its localthermoelectric generating station. In order for socio-economic impact assessmenttools to be valid and meaningful, appropriate and robust local data must becollected through various means, following an accepted and proven approach, such asone or more of the tools presented by WBCSD [71] that will require local community involvement and support. This proposedresearch is necessary in order to address concerns raised by groups such asGreenpeace and to gain insight into the impacts of the transition from coal to woodybiomass. Future research should explore these issues at a greater depth, using AGSas the only North American case study of this scale currently available.

Endnotes

aIt should be noted that nuclear power proponents often promote thisenergy source as ‘green’.

bAll OPG thermoelectric plants produce solely electricity, with nofacilities currently producing heat under a combined heat and power (CHP) system,although the Ontario Power Authority is interested in developing CHP in Ontario.c.f.http://www.powerauthority.on.ca/update-chpcesop.

cThe Thomson Reuters (ISI) Web of Knowledge is described as a premierliterature and abstract database platform, which has been designed to helpresearchers to ‘quickly find, analyze, and share information in the sciences,social sciences, arts, and humanities’.

dGoogle Scholar is a Google search engine optimized for searchingscholarly literature across disciplines and sources such as articles, theses, books,professional societies and online repositories.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The corresponding author, a PhD candidate, was funded by the Natural Resourcesand Engineering Research Council of Canada through an Industrial PostgraduateScholarship in partnership with Ontario Power Generation. The authors are verygrateful for the ongoing support to this project provided by Daryl Gaudry, BrentBoyko, Jane Todd and the entire staff at OPG Thunder Bay and Atikokan GeneratingStations. Additional funding was provided by the Centre for Research andInnovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE). The authors also wish to thank the twoanonymous reviewers whose critiques have greatly improved the manuscript.

Supplementary material

13705_2012_43_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (41 kb)
Authors’ original file for figure 1
13705_2012_43_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (32 kb)
Authors’ original file for figure 2

References

  1. 1.
    Ontario Ministry of the Environment: Green Energy Act. 2010. http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/environment/en/legislation/green_energy_act/index.htm.Accessed 28 Jan 2013Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ontario: Green Energy Act, 2009 S.O. 2009, CHAPTER 12 Schedule A. Ontario e-Laws,2009th Edn. 2009. http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/Download/elaws_statutes_09g12_e.doc .Accessed 28 Jan 2013Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Holmes M: All over the map 2012: a comparison of provincial climate changeplans. Vancouver: David Suzuki Foundation; 2012.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    International Energy Agency (IEA): World energy outlook 2009. Organisation for Economic Co-operationand. Paris: Development/International Energy Agency; 2009.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ontario: Cessation of coal use. Ontario Regulation 496/07. 2007. http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_070496_e.htm .Accessed 4 April 2013Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MEI): Ontario's coal phase out plan. 2009. http://news.ontario.ca/mei/en/2009/09/ontarios-coal-phase-out-plan.html .Accessed 4 Apr 2013Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Marshall L, Fralick C, Gaudry D: OPG charts move from coal to biomass power. 2010. http://www.powermag.com/coal/OPG-Charts-Move-from-Coal-to-Biomass_2570.html .Accessed 17 Feb 2013Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC): Definition — Well-being. 2013. http://www4.hrsdc.gc.ca/gl.4ss.1ry@-eng.jsp?wrd=Well-being .Accessed 2 April 2013Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ontario Power Generation (OPG): Atikokan Generating Station biomass repowering project fact sheet. Toronto: Ontario Power Generation; 2011.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    OPG Ontario Power Generation: Atikokan Generating Station brochure. Toronto: Ontario Power Generation, Inc; 2011.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    McKinnon M: OPG details the move to biomass. 2011. http://www.atikokanprogress.ca/2011/03/23/opg-details-the-move-to-biomass/ .Accessed 8 Dec 2011Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ontario Power Generation (OPG): Atikokan Generating Station biomass fuel suppliers announced: meeting theneeds of a growing economy in Northwestern Ontario. 2012. http://www.opg.com/news/releases/121122Atikokan%20Fuel%20Contracts_FINAL.pdf .Accessed 28 Jan 2013Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Alam MB, Pulkki R, Shahi C: Woody biomass availability for bioenergy production using forest depletionspatial data in northwestern Ontario. Can J For Res 2012, 42: 506–516. 10.1139/x2012-011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Morais J, Barbosa R, Lapa N, Mendes B, Gulyurtlu I: Environmental and socio-economic assessment of co-combustion of coal, biomassand non-hazardous wastes in a Power Plant. Resour Conserv Recycl 2011, 55: 1109–1118. 10.1016/j.resconrec.2011.06.011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Loo S Van, Koppejan J (Eds): The handbook of biomass combustion & co-firing. London: Earthscan; 2010.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Zhang Y, McKechnie J, Cormier D, Lyng R, Mabee W, Ogino A, MacLean HL: Life cycle emissions and cost of producing electricity from coal, naturalgas, and wood pellets in Ontario, Canada. Environ Sci Technol 2010, 44: 538–544. 10.1021/es902555aCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Pansini AJ, Smalling KD: Guide to electric power generation. Lilburn: The Fairmont Press; 2006.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Brockschink SR, Gurney JH, Seely DB: Hydroelectric power generation. In Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. Edited by: Grigsby LL. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 2006.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Sher J: Ontario launches wind, solar projects. 2011. http://www.torontosun.com/2011/07/05/ontario-launches-wind-solar-projects .Accessed 4 Apr 2013Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Nishimura K: Grassroots action for renewable energy: how did Ontario succeed in theimplementation of a feed-in tariff system? Energy, Sustainability and Society 2012., 6: http://www.energsustainsoc.com/content/2/1/6Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO): New Releases. 2011. http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/media/md_news.asp Accessed 2 Dec2011Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Cuddihy J, Kennedy C, Byer P: Energy use in Canada: environmental impacts and opportunities in relationshipto infrastructure systems. Can J Civ Eng 2005, 32: 1–15. 10.1139/l04-100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Bhattacharyya SC: An estimation of environmental costs of coal-based thermal power generationin India. Int J Energ Res 1997, 21: 289–298. 10.1002/(SICI)1099-114X(199703)21:3<289::AID-ER263>3.0.CO;2-NCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Aitken M: Public opinion on electricity options: Postnote 294. Parliamentary Office ofScience and. London: Technology; 2007.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Brechin SR: Comparative public opinion and knowledge on global climatic change and theKyoto Protocol: the U.S. versus the world? Int J Sociol Soc Policy 2003, 23: 106–134. 10.1108/01443330310790318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Farhar BC, Houston AH: Willingness to pay for electricity from renewable energy. 1996. NREL/TP-460–21216. Golden, Colorado NREL/TP-460-21216. Golden, ColoradoCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Farhar BC: Trends in US public perceptions and preferences on energy and environmentalpolicy. Annu Rev Energy Env 1994, 19: 211–239. 10.1146/annurev.eg.19.110194.001235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Bang H, Ellinger AE, Hadjimarcou J, Traichal PA: Consumer concern, knowledge, belief, and attitude toward renewable energy: anapplication of the reasoned action theory. Psychol Mark 2000, 17: 449–468. 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6793(200006)17:6<449::AID-MAR2>3.0.CO;2-8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Baxter L: Biomass-coal co-combustion: opportunity for affordable renewable energy. Fuel 2005, 84: 1295–1305. 10.1016/j.fuel.2004.09.023CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    van der Horst D: NIMBY or not? Exploring the relevance of location and the politics of voicedopinions in renewable energy siting controversies. Energy Policy 2007, 35: 2705–2714. 10.1016/j.enpol.2006.12.012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Upreti BR, van der Horst D: National renewable energy policy and local opposition in the UK: the faileddevelopment of a biomass electricity plant. Biomass Bioenergy 2004, 26: 61–69. 10.1016/S0961-9534(03)00099-0CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Mainville N: Fueling a biomess: why burning trees for energy will harm people, theclimate and forests. Montreal: Greenpeace; 2011.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ontario: Crown Forest Sustainability Act. 1994. http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_94c25_e.htm .Accessed 23 Aug 2012Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR): Forest Management Guides. 2012. http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Forests/2ColumnSubPage/STEL02_164533.html .Accessed 11 Feb 2013Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR): Forest management guide for cultural heritage values. Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario; 2007.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR): Management guidelines for forestry and resource-based tourism. Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario; 2001.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR): Forest management guide for conserving biodiversity at the stand and sitescales. Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario; 2010.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR): Forest management guide for natural disturbance pattern emulation. Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario; 2001.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Watt WR, Baker JA, Hogg DM, McNicol JG, Naylor BJ: Forest management guidelines for the provision of marten habitat. Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario; 1996.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Racey G, Harris A, Gerrish L, Armstrong T, McNicol J, Baker J: Forest management guidelines for the conservation of woodland caribou: alandscape approach. Thunder Bay: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; 1999.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR): Declaration Order regarding MNR’s Class Environmental Assessment (EA)Approval for Forest Management on Crown Lands in Ontario (MNR-71). Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario; 2003.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Thompson Reuters: Web of Science. 2012. http://www.webofknowledge.com . Accessed 25 Jan 2013Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Sikkema R, Steiner M, Junginger M, Hiegl W, Hansen MT, Faaij A: The European wood pellet markets: current status and prospects for 2020. Biofuels, Bioprod Biorefin 2011, 5: 250–278. 10.1002/bbb.277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Hansson J, Berndes G, Johnsson F, Kjarstad J: Co-firing biomass with coal for electricity generation - an assessment of thepotential in EU27. Energy Policy 2009, 37: 1444–1455. 10.1016/j.enpol.2008.12.007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Google: Google Scholar. 2012. http://scholar.google.ca/. Accessed 2 Apr 2012Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Johnson A, Catalan LJJ, Kinrade SD: Characterization and evaluation of fly-ash from co-combustion of lignite andwood pellets for use as cement admixture. Fuel 2010, 89: 3042–3050. 10.1016/j.fuel.2010.05.027CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Hosegood S, Leitch M, Shahi C, Pulkki R: Moisture and energy content of fire-burnt trees for bioenergy production: acase study of four tree species from northwestern Ontario. For Chron 2011, 87: 42–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Alam MB, Pulkki R, Shahi C, Upadhyay T: Wood biomass procurement for bioenergy production in northwestern Ontario: adecision support system based on mixed integer programming model. 2009. In: 34th Council on Forest Engineering, Quebec City, 12–15 June2011 In: 34th Council on Forest Engineering, Quebec City, 12–15 June2011Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Wang H, Shang J, Xu Y, Yeheyis M, Yanful E: Application of coal fly ash to replace lime in the management of reactivemine tailings. Appropriate Technologies for Environmental Protection in theDeveloping World. 2007. Paper presented at the ERTEP 2007, Ghana, 17–19 July 2007 Paper presented at the ERTEP 2007, Ghana, 17–19 July 2007Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Yeheyis MB, Shang JQ, Yanful EK: Characterization and environmental evaluation of Atikokan coal fly ash forenvironmental applications. J Environ Eng Sci 2008, 7: 481–498. 10.1139/S08-019CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Ter-Mikaelian MT, McKechnie J, Colombo SJ, Chen JX, MacLean HL: The carbon neutrality assumption for forest bioenergy: a case study fornorthwestern Ontario. For Chron 2011, 87: 644–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    International Energy Agency (IEA): Biomass for Power Generation and CHP. IEA Energy Technology EssentialsETE03. Paris: International Energy Agency; 2007.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Centre for Energy (CFE): Transporting coal. 2012. http://www.centreforenergy.com/AboutEnergy/Coal/Environment.asp?page=14 .Accessed 2 April 2012Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Kryzanowski T: Pellet production boom. Logging Sawmill J 2010. http://www.forestnet.com/LSJissues/march_10/pellet%20boom.pdf .Accessed 2 April 2012Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    McKendry P: Energy production from biomass (part 1): Overview of biomass. Bioresour Technol 2002, 83: 37–46. 10.1016/S0960-8524(01)00118-3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Demirbas A: Biomass co-firing for coal-fired boilers. Energ Explor Exploit 2003, 21: 269–278. 10.1260/014459803769520070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Schobert HH: Lignites of North America. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science; 1995.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Coleman L: 2010 Coal producers survey. Washington: National Mining Association; 2011.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Smith EB: A mountain of coal waits for a ride. 2005. http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/manufacturing/2005–08–24-coal-usat_x.htm .Accessed 2 Apr 2012Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    International Energy Agency (IEA): Power generation from coal. Paris: International Energy Agency; 2011.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Anderson DA: Environmental economics and natural resource management. New York: Routledge; 2010.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Wang HL, Shang JQ, Kovac V, Ho KS: Utilization of Atikokan coal fly ash in acid rock drainage control formMusselwhite Mine tailings. Can Geotech J 2006, 43: 229–243. 10.1139/t05-100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Obernberger I, Thek G: The pellet handbook: the production and thermal utilisation of biomasspellets. Washington: Earthscan; 2010.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Pirraglia A, Gonzales R, Saloni D, Wright J: Wood pellets: an expanding market opportunity. Biomass Power & Thermal 2010. http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/3853/wood-pellets-an-expanding-market-opportunity/ .Accessed 15 Sept 2012Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Abbasi T, Abbasi SA: Biomass energy and the environmental impacts associated with its productionand utilization. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 2010, 14: 919–937. 10.1016/j.rser.2009.11.006CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Akella AK, Saini RP, Sharma MP: Social, economical and environmental impacts of renewable energy systems. Renew Energy 2009, 34: 390–396. 10.1016/j.renene.2008.05.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Marland G, Schlamandinger B: Forests for carbon sequestration or fossil fuel substitution: a sensitivityanalysis. Biomass Bioenergy 1997, 13: 389–397. 10.1016/S0961-9534(97)00027-5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Nardoslawsky M, Obernberger I: From waste to raw material: the route from biomass to wood ash for cadmiumand other heavy metals. J Hazard Mater 1996, 50: 157–168. 10.1016/0304-3894(96)01785-2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Demeyer A, Voundi Nkana JC, Verloo MG: Characteristics of wood ash and influence on soil properties and nutrientuptake: an overview. Bioresour Technol 2001, 77: 287–295. 10.1016/S0960-8524(00)00043-2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Al-Mansour F, Zuwala J: An evaluation of biomass co-firing in Europe. Biomass Bioenergy 2010, 34: 620–629. 10.1016/j.biombioe.2010.01.004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD): Measuring socio-economic impact: a guide for business. World BusinessCouncil for Sustainable. Washington: Development; 2013.Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI): The Metrics Navigator. Washington: Global Environmental Management Initiative; 2007.Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Initiative for Global Development (IGD): Measuring impact: a business approach. Seattle: Initiative for Global Development;Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Anglo American: Socio-economic assessment toolbox. Version 3. London: Anglo American Services UK Ltd; 2012.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dampier et al.; licensee Springer. 2013

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative CommonsAttribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), whichpermits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided theoriginal work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason Ernest Elvin Dampier
    • 1
  • Chander Shahi
    • 1
  • Raynald Harvey Lemelin
    • 2
  • Nancy Luckai
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Natural Resources ManagementLakehead UniversityOntarioCanada
  2. 2.School of Outdoor Recreation Parks and TourismLakehead UniversityOntarioCanada

Personalised recommendations