These remarks are from the CI Ontario Power Conference on April 17, 2013, during a panel discussion about the Ring of Fire and Northern Development: Addressing the Challenges of Generation, Transmission and Project Development in Northern Ontario.
Dr. Peter Telford
One of the many challenges for renewable energy, whether it be wind, solar or biomass, and why, with current technologies and economies, renewables will rarely be able to fully replace base-load power supplied by fossil fuels or nuclear, are the inherent limitations – the wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine, biomass resources in their various forms are not always in abundant supply or in the right place.
In the past day and a half we have heard lots of references to wind and solar so I’ll focus these brief remarks on biomass which, of course, is the principal interest of my company. This is not intended to be a promo for Peat Resources Limited but I’m happy if the name catches your attention.
Biomass can be many things – wood waste from the forest products industry, dedicated agricultural crops, waste generated by other farming or food processing activity, or my personal favourite, peat, which has been used to produce electricity in Europe for many generations. While they have obvious environmental advantages, there are also limitations to these types of bioenergy resources competing economically with traditional fossil fuels – especially in this current time of very low natural gas prices.