PwC study recommends action be taken to drive the Atlantica Region's forestry industry to forefront of renewable energy economy



    TORONTO, Jan. 5 /CNW/ - Actions must be taken to implement renewable
energy technologies in the Atlantica Region's forest products industry, says a
new report released today by the Atlantica BioEnergy Task Force. The study,
compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) recommends 15 distinct actions to be
taken in the areas of sustainable forest management, biomass management,
energy policy, education, research and development and technology
implementation that will drive the Atlantica Region to the forefront of the
renewable energy economy.
    The Task Force is comprised of regional government, industry, utilities,
federal and regional organizations and post secondary institutions who have
the mandate to ensure the future sustainability and prosperity of the forest
products industry across three jurisdictions: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and
the state of Maine, which together constitute the Atlantica Region (the
"Region").
    "The Region is rich in forests and has historically depended on the
forest industry to drive its economy," says Bruce McIntyre, leader of PwC's
Forest, Paper and Packaging practice in Canada and a partner in the firm's
Sustainable Business Solutions practice. "But the Region is now struggling to
attract new investment and is facing the added challenges of high log and wage
costs, weak markets, and energy costs that are above average. Without new
investment the business prospects for the Region's forest products sector are
bleak, with little room to improve energy efficiency, develop emerging
technologies or generate new sources of revenue."
    Yet, the study shows that there are opportunities to revitalize the
forest industry and its competitiveness by making use of available wood
feedstock - a renewable asset-for the production of bioenergy, biofuels,
biochemicals and other bioproducts in an environmentally conscious manner and
thus enhancing sustainable economic development in the Region. However, it
remains unclear how much wood feedstock is available for use in bioproducts
and at what cost this can be brought to market, which also acts as an
investment suppressor to those technologies that could make the biggest
difference to the forest industry.
    "The forest products industry across the Region is facing numerous
challenges," says Thor Olesen, Executive Director of the Atlantica BioEnergy
Task Force. "The Task Force represents a collective response to these
challenges with full representation from the affected stakeholders. This is an
invaluable opportunity for open dialogue in the Region."
    McIntyre added, "These issues and opportunities could apply to the forest
industry right across North America."

    
    The PwC report puts forth recommendations in the following areas:

    -   Sustainable forest management
    -   Transportation infrastructure
    -   Transmission and distribution systems
    -   Technology
    -   Greenhouse gas strategy
    -   Market development
    -   Financial support
    -   Regional collaboration in research and education
    

    The summary report, including recommendations can be found by visiting
www.atlanticabioenergy.com

    PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance,
tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its
clients and their stakeholders. More than 155,000 people in 153 countries
across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop
fresh perspectives and practical advice. In Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
(www.pwc.com/ca) and its related entities have more than 5,200 partners and
staff in offices across the country.
    "PricewaterhouseCoopers" refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario
limited liability partnership, or, as the context requires, the
PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network,
each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.

    The Atlantica Bio-Energy Task Force is a coalition of forest industry
stakeholders from government, industry, and post-secondary institutions, which
share a common interest in the forest resources in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
and Maine.





For further information:

For further information: Carolyn Forest, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP,
(416) 814-5730, carolyn.forest@ca.pwc.com; Nina Godard, PricewaterhouseCoopers
LLP, (416) 941-8383 x 13520, nina.godard@ca.pwc.com

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