GRANDE PRAIRIE, AB, Dec. 20, 2010 (Market Wire) -The Government of Canada has announced an investment in Weyerhaeuser Company Limited to help it become more productive, competitive and sustainable. The Honourable Rob Merrifield, Minister of State for Transport, and Chris Warkentin, Member of Parliament for Peace River, announced today that Weyerhaeuser's Grande Prairie mill will receive over $32 million from the federal Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program.
"At a time when the global economy is still fragile, clean energy projects are helping to drive the transformation of Canada's forest sector toward a more secure future," said Minister Merrifield. "Challenging market conditions have pushed this industry to seek out new partnerships and explore the broad range of products wood can yield. Through strategic investments, our Government is helping create the conditions for success today and beyond."
Weyerhaeuser is investing its credits in a new turbine generator so its Grande Prairie pulp mill can better meet its own energy needs and sell excess electricity to the grid. As a result, approximately 2,800 homes in regions that need electricity will have access to carbon-neutral power.
"This investment is good news for Weyerhaeuser, its workers and the surrounding community," said Mr. Warkentin. "By expanding its line of forest products to include clean energy for the homes and businesses in Alberta, Weyerhaeuser is able to continue sustaining quality jobs in this region."
"By supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy production, the federal government's Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program is a significant contribution to a green and sustainable future for Canada's pulp and paper sector," said Anne Giardini, President of Weyerhaeuser Company Limited. "This program helps to position Weyerhaeuser as a leader in the production of renewable energy from forest biomass."
"The support shown by Canada with this investment, together with the support from Alberta for this new turbine generator, has served as a catalyst for additional investment at the Grande Prairie mill that will result in the generation of even more renewable energy," added Giardini.
The total value of the turbine generator project is approximately $50 million. The Government of Alberta is contributing $4.5 million and Weyerhaeuser is investing the remaining amount.
"Alberta's bioenergy programs support companies like Weyerhaeuser as they improve their environmental performance and increase their production of renewable energy," said Wayne Drysdale, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Grande Prairie-Wapiti. "This project is a win for the paper and pulp sector as it becomes more environmentally sustainable, a win for Alberta as we achieve cleaner energy production, and a win for our communities as new funding for projects continues to attract new private sector investment to Alberta."
Today's announcement builds on the success of many initiatives that are helping to sustain and enhance Canada's forest industry and the families and communities that depend on it. Budget 2010: Leading the Way on Jobs and Growth established the $100-million Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program to promote the development, commercialization and implementation of advanced technologies in the forest sector - helping create a world-class industry able to compete in the clean energy economy of tomorrow.
In addition, under Canada's Economic Action Plan the Government has committed $170 million to assist the development of next-generation forest products and expand global markets for Canadian forest products. This funding includes $40 million to develop pilot-scale demonstrations under the Transformative Technologies Program.