Low oil prices and downturn in the European market affect Scotia Atlantic Biomass debt payment

Photo by Tom Bruton

Photo by Tom Bruton

“Scotia Atlantic Biomass Company announced it has received a Demand Notice from Cornwall Investments in the amount of CAD 6.35 million. According to the announcement, the company also received from Cornwall, a Notice of Intention to Enforce Security under Rule 124” (woodbizforum.com Oct 20th, 2016).

The article cites this comment by Christopher Robertson, CEO of Viridis Energy, the parent company: “Despite the challenges over the past number of years with the Scotia facility, Cornwall provided a series of loans for the initial acquisition of the assets, capital improvements, and working capital. Operations had recently improved and Scotia was on track to reach profitability for the first time, however, low oil prices and the severe downturn in the European market occurred and as a result, Scotia was not able to address the Cornwall debt.”

Efforts to sell the operation were apparently not successful (CH Aug 31, 2016).

The operation is located in Middle Musquodoboit. For some recent history, see The Resurrection of Scotia  Atlantic Biomass Company. In 2014 Scotia Atlantic was expected “to produce up to 120,000 tonnes of pellets per year to be shipped to European customers on a quarterly basis”(Canadian Biomass, Feb 4, 2014). Biomass was received as cut-to-length wood in at least some cases, harvested from selective cutting; in Oct 2015, pulp and biomass garnered one third of the price received for stud logs sold to a mill (woodbusiness.ca Oct 21, 2015).

While electricity generated from forest biomass currently counts as a “renewable”, there is abundant evidence that it shouldn’t (see ecelaw doc) and the Europeans may stop crediting it as a renewable. Many are waiting for Nova Scotia to follow. A petition to Stop destroying Nova Scotia’s forests for biomass power generation released in the spring of 2016 quickly garnered over 20,000 signatures.

The Nova Scotia government has followed wishful thinking, not the science, in classifying biomass for electricity as a renewable and then promoting it.

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