Erickson part of Finland tour in support of Alberta’s forest industry

  • May. 5, 2009 2:00 p.m.

Staff

Buck Lake resident Edwin Erickson, spokesman for the fledgling Alberta Progress Party, is currently on a ten-day investigative tour of Finland’s state-of-the-art biomass power generation and central heating plants in hopes of finding a viable solution to problems facing the industry right here at home.

“Finland is recognized as a world leader in the collection and use of forestry waste and bi-products in the generation of electricity,” Erickson said. “The Finns generating anywhere from 700 kilowatts to 200 megawatts of energy, and that could help support a solution to Alberta’s beleaguered forest industry, while providing part of a reasonable alternative to the building of nuclear reactors to supply the province’s future electrical needs.”

Aside from studying the actual mechanics of the processes and the localized methods of collection of the forest materials, Erickson said he would also be keeping a watchful eye on water usage at the various plants. Water use is becoming a contentious issue in a potentially much drier Alberta climate, and nuclear reactors are notorious for substantial use of water in the cooling process.

“Aside from the obvious relevant advantages for much increased employment in the forest sector, this may present a significant opportunity for the province to move toward greener, sustainable power production, without having to resort to nuclear energy”, he said.

Erickson accompanied 27 other business and community leaders from across Canada on the 10-day tour.