“Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” (Part 5 of 6)

While most of the publication “Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” is written in the Finnish language, the following six English summaries give valuable insight into this largely unknown energy source. Vapo Oy is the largest producer of Peat Fuel in Finland.

The Energy Peat Market in Finland – Summary

In the late 1960s and the early 1970s the decision makers in the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the management of the State Fuel Centre wisely foresaw that it was necessary to create a functioning market for peat. Small-scale producers, inconsistent peat quality and reliance on one customer (the Finnish State Railways) were factors that sowed the seeds of destruction for sod peat production in the 1950s. Admittedly the sector had also been depressed by exceptionally cheap oil. It had become clear that without state subsidies the peat industry could not compete against oil and coal because the imported fuels had a higher thermal value and prices in the 1960s were heading downwards.

Peat had to make up in price and security of supply what it lost in thermal value. A price comparison was made with oil in the 1960s and the early 1970s. Essentially peat was, and still is, a good fuel in terms of security of supply because the production, supply and usage chains are all within Finland. Continue Reading →

“Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” (Part 4 of 6)

While most of the publication “Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” is written in the Finnish language, the following six English summaries give valuable insight into this largely unknown energy source. Vapo Oy is the largest producer of Peat Fuel in Finland.

Peat as a Source of Energy: Environmental Awareness and Environmental Protection – Summary

Environmental protection and environmental awareness related to the utilisation of peat and peatlands have undergone a considerable transformation between the 1960s and the present day. The focus of environmental protection has also varied over time: in the 1960s and 70s mire conservation programmes and the impact of the peat industry on conservation targets were in the forefront; in the 1980s and 90s watercourse protection and the impact of peat extraction on biodiversity were among the key issues, and in the 1990s and since 2000 environmental protection has been dominated by climate policy, linked to the greenhouse gas emissions from peat combustion and the land usage of peatlands.

In terms of environmental awareness, there has been a progression towards a principle of increased environmental responsibility. The awareness of the peat industry – and of Finnish industry in general – of the environmental impact of their activities increased in the 1980s, and at the same time data on the impacts became available, the authorities imposed more standards and environmental protection started to be a major area of stakeholder interaction. Continue Reading →

“Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” (Part 3 of 6)

While most of the publication “Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” is written in the Finnish language, the following six English summaries give valuable insight into this largely unknown energy source. Vapo Oy is the largest producer of Peat Fuel in Finland.

Finnish Energy Policy and Peat as a Source of Energy – Summary

Finnish policy on energy and the operations of Vapo, which are elucidated in this chapter, changed quite drastically from the days of the Arab oil embargo in the early 1970s to the present day.

Before the first oil crisis in 1973–74, the Finnish energy system relied basically on hydropower and increasing imports of coal and crude oil. Especially in the 1960s, the energy self-sufficiency rate weakened and oil dependency grew significantly, causing problems for the security of energy supply. In addition, energy efficiency and energy savings were not a high priority since Finland imported most of its energy carriers (oil and coal) from the USSR.

The use of wood as an energy source, a traditional fuel for cooking and heating for centuries and for industrial power plants since the adoption of combustion technology in the late 19th century, declined after the Second World War as a result of nationwide electrification and the emergence of oil-fuelled district heating systems and power plants. Oil prices remained very low from the Korean War to the beginning of the 1970s.

Furthermore, policies regarding the use of forest resources were dictated by the importance of the expanding forest industry for the economy as a whole, and thus the use of wood as an energy source for non-industrial combustion plants was not particularly championed in the 1960s. Continue Reading →

“Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” (Part 2 of 6)

While most of the publication “Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” is written in the Finnish language, the following six English summaries give valuable insight into this largely unknown energy source. Vapo Oy is the largest producer of Peat Fuel in Finland.

Peat as an Energy Source before the First Oil Crisis – Summary

The subject of this study – biomass energy (e.g. wood, peat, reed canary grass, crops and waste) – is an area that has raised expectations in countries with extensive forest and peatland resources and fields. In spite of its CO2 emissions, biomass combustion is generally considered to be greenhouse gas-neutral because it is part of the contemporary carbon cycle (Randolph & Masters 2008).

However, peat is an exception among biomass-based fuels; it has been classified as a fossil fuel by the EU and as a slowly renewable biomass fuel by the Finnish government and the Finnish and Swedish peat industries. Thus it is not globally accepted that peat can be classified as a slowly renewable energy source or even as a biomass. Patrick Crill, Atte Korhola and Ken Hargreaves, all internationally recognised peatland and climate change experts, suggested in 2000 that peat should be classified as a biomass fuel, so as to distinguish it from biofuels (such as wood) and from fossil fuels (such as coal, lignite and oil shale) (Crill, Korhola and Hargreaves 2000).

However, their reasoning and conclusions have been criticized by environmental movements. The discussion on the classification of peat is still on going. Based on research by Finnish and Swedish scientists in the early 2000s, the IPCC placed peat fuel in a separate category, “peat”, occupying an intermediate position between biomass and lignite. On the whole, peat is still an energy source the definitions of which vary enormously between countries and also political parties. Continue Reading →

“Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” (Part 1 of 6)

While most of the publication “Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” is written in the Finnish language, the following six English summaries give valuable insight into this largely unknown energy source. Vapo Oy is the largest producer of Peat Fuel in Finland.

Northern Ontario has some of the largest deposits of peat fuel in the world. The North’s vast bogs have the energy equivalent of 72 billion barrels of oil – this province’s own version of the Alberta tar sands, none of which is being harvested for energy use. Current provincial resources policies are very hostile to the sustainable development of this strategic energy source. – Stan Sudol

Power and Heat from Peat

The use of peat for energy has a long and colourful history. The attitudes towards peat have ranged from confidence to criticism – often based on a vague understanding of how peat can be utilised.

Vapo’s 70th Anniversary Commemorative Book “Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” takes the reader through yet unexplored paths of history and describes how peat has become an important part of Finland’s energy supply. Continue Reading →

Hudak would ‘suspend’ $122M GO Transit deal going to Quebec – by Tanya Talaga (Toronto Star – August 18, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Tory Leader Tim Hudak would “suspend” a $122 million contract with a Quebec firm to refurbish GO Transit coaches if he becomes premier this October.

This is the latest big ticket contract Hudak is looking at nixing. The Tories also intend to get rid of the $7 billion green energy Samsung agreement, which his party has dubbed the “king of all secret, sweetheart deals”.

North Bay’s Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, a Crown corporation, lost the bid to refurbish the GO trains which are owned by Metrolinx, another Crown firm. As a result nearly 109 jobs will be lost, said Nipissing Progressive Conservative candidate Vic Fedeli.

“We would immediately suspend it, then review it to see what our options are,” Fedeli told the Toronto Star on Wednesday. Continue Reading →

Venezuela’s Chavez says he’ll nationalize gold mines – by David Ebner (Globe and Mail – August 18, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media.

Hugo Chavez is attempting to capitalize on record gold prices with a plan to nationalize the industry in Venezuela, a move to bolster the South American country’s financial reserves.

The erratic Venezuelan president made the declaration on Wednesday by telephone, during a military ceremony, to the country’s national television broadcaster. Mr. Chavez said an official decree would soon be issued and called on the military to enforce the move.

“I have here the laws allowing the state to exploit gold and all related activities,” said Mr. Chavez in comments reported by Reuters from Caracas. “We are going to nationalize the gold and we are going to convert it, among other things, into international reserves because gold continues to increase in value.”

Venezuela produces very little gold, officially about 150,000 ounces a year, which is about 2 per cent of the output of Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest bullion miner. Continue Reading →

Weak demand saps nickel prices – by Pratima Desai – Reuters (Sudbury Star – August 17, 2011)

The Sudbury Star, the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

LONDON — Deteriorating demand from stainless steel mills and rising mine production are likely to push the nickel market into surplus in the second half of the year and put modest downward pressure on prices.

The uncertain outlook for global economic growth and demand because of the debt crisis in the euro zone and the United States mean gloomier prospects for nickel demand.

Stainless steel producers use about two-thirds of global nickel output, which is estimated at above 1.5 million tonnes this year.

First-quarter production of stainless steel rose to a record high of 8.390 million tonnes, according to the International Stainless Steel Forum, and expectations for the second quarter are, at best, flat. Continue Reading →

[Anti-asbestos] Ottawa widow stands firm against Conservative threats – by Time Harper (Toronto Star – August 17, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Michaela Keyserlingk pauses when asked to recite her history of political activism. She seems to recall writing a letter to the local school board some years back after it closed some schools.

But over the past 72 hours, the Ottawa woman has outsmarted the propaganda arm of the Harper government after it handed her a gift, allowing her to publicize a cause she has championed in honour of her late husband.

The Conservative party may have success demonizing the Liberal party or painting the national media as agents of evil, but it appears to have met its match in this Ottawa widow.

Keyserlingk lost her husband, a retired university professor and one-time Progressive Conservative riding association president for Ottawa Centre, to asbestos-related cancer in December, 2009. Continue Reading →

OMA member profile: Blue Heron — providing practical environmental solutions for mining sector

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

When Linda Byron-Fortin started Blue Heron Solutions for Environmental Management from her Timmins basement in 2004, she may not have envisioned it growing into the operation it is today with a payroll of 17 occupying a 7,000 square foot facility. 

From her Timmins headquarters, she can list among her mining clients De Beers Canada, Xstrata Nickel, Xstrata Copper, Goldcorp, Lakeshore, Northgate, Kirkland Lake Gold, St. Andrew Goldfields and a range of junior exploration and development companies.  Blue Heron’s spectrum of environmental services encompass planning and compliance, education and eco-retailing.

“I like having an ability to help people and I have an interest in management systems,” said Ms. Byron-Fortin.  “Most of my staff are ex-environmental coordinators from the resource sector who take an operational perspective on environmental permitting and compliance programs.” Continue Reading →

Northern Ontario Heritage Party faces challenges – by Wayne Snider (The Timmins Daily Press – August 16, 2011)

 The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at [email protected].

While the Northern Ontario Heritage Party continues to experience growing pains, plans are beginning to come together for the fledgling political party. NOHP Leader Ed Debeil, of North Bay, still hopes to field candidates in all 11 Northern Ontario ridings for the Oct. 6 provincial election.

Currently the party has two confirmed candidates — in the ridings of Timiskaming-Cochrane and Kenora-Rainy River. Official announcements will be made later this week to introduce these candidates. Previously, Debeil had hoped to have riding associations formed and candidates in place in all 11 ridings by Aug. 8.

The process has moved slower than he had originally hoped. “We’re working on a candidate for Timmins-James Bay,” he explained in a phone interview on Monday. “I’ve had two or three people express interest in the nomination. Continue Reading →

[NDP mining policy] Job saver or job killer? – by Rachel Punch (Sudbury Star – August 16, 2011)

The Sudbury Star, the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

NDP MPP France Gelinas is standing by her party’s plan to keep Ontario’s resources in the province for processing, despite the Liberal claim it would put hundreds of well-paying jobs at risk in Sudbury.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrew Horwath announced earlier this month that if her party is elected in October, it would amend the Mining Act so resources mined in Ontario cannot be exported if they can be processed in Ontario. ” The North’s natural resources should be creating jobs in the North,” Horwath stated.

“Instead of letting companies take our resources and run, we can keep good value-added jobs and industry in northern communities.” Sudbury’s Liberal MPP Rick Bartolucci, however, said Monday the policy would mean job losses for Sudburians.

” This is just a policy that would ensure that other countries would close their borders to Canada and … most immediately would result in the loss of jobs in Sudbury,” he said. Continue Reading →

Cash-rich mining companies hunt for bargains – by Brenda Bouw (Globe and Mail – August 15, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media. Brenda Bouw is the Globe’s mining reporter.

The correction in commodity prices is sparking a new round of merger and acquisition talk in the mining sector as cash-fat companies look to pick off competitors at cheaper prices.

Mining equities have seen a much sharper sell off when compared with metal prices in the recent market rout, which has created opportunities for acquisition-hungry companies, while leaving smaller rivals more vulnerable. That could lead to more hostile bids for miners reluctant to sell at current depressed prices.

Friendly deals will also likely be struck by companies in greater need of cash to advance projects amid the growing global economic uncertainty. After a surge in mining deals earlier this year, driven by record-setting commodity prices, negotiations cooled off in early summer as prices were driven lower by debt woes in United States and Europe and on concerns of a slowdown in Chinese economic growth. Continue Reading →

Tories tussle with widow over use of party logo in asbestos ad campaign – by Andy Blatchford (The Canadian Press/Globe and Mail – August 14, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media.

The federal Conservative party has sent a threatening email to the widow of an asbestos victim in the latest chapter of Canada’s debate over the hazardous mineral. A top Tory official is warning the woman to stop using the party logo in an online ad campaign against the controversial industry — a campaign she started after her husband died of an asbestos-related cancer.

Michaela Keyserlingk, whose husband Robert died in 2009 of mesothelioma, has been running an online banner since the spring that reads, “Canada is the only western country that still exports deadly asbestos!”

Conservative party executive director Dan Hilton warned Ms. Keyserlingk to stop using the Tory symbol immediately. “Failure to do so may result in further action,” Mr. Hilton wrote in a July 29 email which carried the subject title, “Unauthorized use of trademark.” The email, which The Canadian Press obtained from Ms. Keyserlingk, went on to advise her: “Please govern yourself accordingly.” Continue Reading →

[McGuinty] Biding his time [about Ring of Fire] – by Carol Mulligan

The Sudbury Star, the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper. [email protected]

The Ontario Liberals will wait to see how much money the private sector is willing to invest in infrastructure to develop the Ring of Fire chromite deposits before it puts government money into the area, says the premier.

The province will definitely have to help build infrastructure, such as roads, to bring the project online, but it wants to maximize its opportunities before it does, says Dalton McGuinty.

Any public investment would have to be shown to benefit Ontarians — and especially Northern Ontarians — and that includes businesses and First Nations.

“We’ve got an opportunity to do this in a way that’s never been done before, so we’re excited about that,” McGuinty told reporters at Laurentian University’s J.N. Desmarais Library on Saturday. “But, yes, at some point in time, it will call for an investment in infrastructure.”

He visited Laurentian to address the annual Summer Fling policy conference of Ontario Young Liberals, where he announced an initiative to help new graduates who work in the not-for-profit sector. Continue Reading →