Leaders in industry, government officials, scientists and consumers will meet next month to examine how to accelerate the use of one of Atlantic Canada’s largest untapped sources of renewable energy.

Described as the first Maritime bioheat conference, it will explore wood pellets as an economic and environmentally sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.

“Atlantic Canada is heavily dependent on oil-burning home heating systems, and residents of the region experience some of the highest rates of energy poverty in the nation. The industrial manufacturing and power generation systems in the region are also heavily dependent on oil and coal,” says Gordon Murray, executive director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada, the organization hosting the online event.

“Sustainably produced wood pellets are not only better for the environment, representing significant savings on carbon emissions, they are also much more affordable, and a straightforward substitution to heating oil and coal,” Murray says.

Net Zero by 2030: Growing the Region’s Largest Source of Renewable Energy, slated for June 2, will explore policy measures, investments and strategies to accelerate such an energy transition, as well as systems needed to ensure high environmental standards are maintained and true environmental benefits are achieved.

Murray says such a transition will generate significant environmental benefits, save consumers money, and support the domestic forest sector to improve utilization of forest fibre, reducing waste and improving the environmental performance of forest industry manufacturing.

“The magnitude of the opportunity for a dramatic change in energy consumption in Atlantic Canada is significant and generational,” Murray says.

Research shows that by using locally produced renewable wood pellets as an energy source, the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia alone could reduce carbon emissions by 3.2 million tonnes per year, he says.

More information and registration for the free, three-hour online conference is available online. Sessions will be available in both French and English.