AEA Wins Accolades for Pioneering Community Heating Solutions at Canadian Biomass Awards

In the frostbitten reaches of the Northwest Territories, the Arctic Energy Alliance (AEA) is redefining community heating with sustainable solutions that have now earned them an honourable mention at the 2024 Canadian Biomass Awards.

The AEA’s biomass program is designed to being affordable, clean heating to the far north. Through comprehensive projects ranging from supporting existing systems to implementing new community-scale biomass heating solutions, AEA has become synonymous with renewable energy education and advocacy in the region.

A crucial aspect of the program is its focus on the operational success of existing biomass systems. “Supporting these systems is essential,” said Michelle Leger, project coordinator at AEA. “It’s not just about building new infrastructures; it’s crucial to ensure that what is already built works well.”

Collaboration lies at the heart of the Biomass Program. AEA works closely with various stakeholders including community governments, indigenous governments, and local businesses to conduct prefeasibility studies and set up community biomass district heating systems. These partnerships are structured through formal agreements that outline the scope, roles, responsibilities, and timelines.

“Our partnerships are designed to empower communities,” said Leger. “They are pivotal in transitioning from traditional fuel sources to biomass, which is not only more economical but also environmentally friendly.”

Education also plays a significant role in the Biomass Program. AEA offers “Burn It Smart” programs and Wood Energy Technology Transfer (WETT) training, providing residents with the knowledge to safely use new, energy-efficient woodstoves.

The annual NWT Biomass Week, hosted by AEA in collaboration with the Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC) and Canadian Biomass Magazine, further highlights the growing acceptance and implementation of biomass technologies. Through events like these, AEA promotes the benefits of biomass, demonstrating its viability as a sustainable energy source across the territories.

The impact of the Biomass Program on the community is substantial. Transitioning to wood pellet heating has provided a stable and low-emission heating option that enhances local air quality and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, the initiative has spurred local employment through training for WETT-certified technicians and increased community engagement in renewable energy practices.

This article was originally publish in Canadian Biomass. This article is part of Bioheat Week 2024. Read more articles about bioheat in Canada.