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Canadian biomass network to boost struggling forestry region

By Luke Geiver | May 30, 2012

A Canadian organization tasked with spurring economic growth in a struggling forestry region in Quebec by promoting biomass-to-energy development has received a financial boost from the Economic Development Agency of Canada. Through a non-repayable funding award of roughly $200,000, the Network of Expertise and Recovery in Forest Biomass will continue developing biomass-to-energy startup companies, products or experienced individuals capable of helping the economy through the utilization of biomass in the Regional County Municipality of La Matapedia. The area is struggling with the decline of its forestry industry.

The funding will be used to hire staff to coordinate and carry out the goals of the biomass group. The financial support to the network, according to Jacques Gourde, a parliament member from the region, provides proof of the government’s commitment to promoting economic growth grounded in innovation. The funding comes from the Temporary Initiative for the Strengthening of Quebec’s Forest Economies, an organization formed in 2010 to help communities affected by the forestry crisis diversify their economies, according to the Economic Development Agency of Canada. Part of the organization’s goal is to support secondary and tertiary wood processing projects in those regions.

The funding given to the Quebec biomass network is relatively small in comparison to the funding given to other Canadian projects aimed at securing forestry community economies. The Community Adjustment Fund aimed at mitigating the impacts of the downturn in the forestry industry, was given a $1 billion budget over two years. The Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program was also given $1 billion, and the Government of Quebec has already invested $238 million to maintain forested roads.