Forests are an important part of the natural global carbon cycle, using and storing carbon to grow and then releasing it when they die and decompose. The wood fibre derived from Alberta's forests is a renewable and carbon-neutral alternative for artificial sweeteners, bio-composite plastics, electrical energy, pharmaceutical drugs, resins and glues, soil additives and textiles.
Alberta's forest industry and the Government of Alberta have made significant investments in the production of bioenergy from forest residuals. Bioenergy production is important, because it enhances rural development, creates employment opportunities and increases tax revenues. It adds value to residuals that would otherwise go unutilized, reduces the risk of fires, and plays an important role in the reduction of greenhouse gases (particularly methane). Bioenergy products are renewable and sustainably sourced under Alberta's world-class forest stewardship regime.
The forest industry produces several bioenergy products, including wood pellets, biogas and electricity. Wood pellets are used in Alberta for residential heating, oil and gas remediation, and agricultural operations. They are also exported to the United States, Asia and Europe for use in electricity production.
Alberta's pulp mills utilize residuals, and in some cases, biogas, to produce electricity. They are among the most advanced and efficient operations in North America and are net contributors of baseload power to the Alberta power grid.