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‘A’ woody biomass rating could open up regional bioenergy opportunities

The first-ever rating for a Bioeconomy Development Opportunity Zone in Alberta could allow the Grande Prairie region to explore more renewable energy options. The Municipal District of Greenview and the County of Grande Prairie’s BDO Zone has received an ‘A’ rating from the BDO Zone Initiative for the area’s woody biomass.

It’s reported the rating comes from the region’s “robust” forestry and wood industry sector. According to the International Energy Agency, woody biomass provides a renewable energy source, or bioenergy, through the burning of trees, sawmill residue, and forest residue such as branches which contain carbon absorbed through photosynthesis.

The BDO Zone Initiative adds that strong BDO zone ratings allow distressed economies to shift to renewable energy. County of Grande Prairie Reeve Robert Marshall says the rating validates what the municipalities already know and symbolizes the efforts the region has taken to move toward a stronger renewable energy-based economy.

“Our region is an excellent source of woody biomass. We intend to become an essential component of the bioenergy industry that supports our existing industry sectors,” Marshall says, adding that focusing on bioenergy will fulfill emission reduction goals set by the county while adding new jobs and supporting economic growth in the renewables sector.

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The 120-kilometre radius of the local BDO Zone includes Grande Prairie, the Greenview Industrial Gateway, and the Hamlet of Grande Cache. The MD describes the zone as a “self-contained industrial system,” which features access to natural gas, water, electricity, transportation networks, and potential for low-carbon project development.

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