Energy

2020 Highlights: 

  • 850 gigawatt hours of renewable energy generation capacity
  • 74% of energy from renewable sources
  • Non-renewable energy intensity decreased 75% since 2005 through energy efficiency projects
  • 89% of our manufacturing facilities generate some form of renewable energy from wood materials that are a byproduct of manufacturing activity

Approach to Energy

West Fraser is well-positioned to support international action to keep global temperature rise below 2°C through our careful management of energy resources.

The Company’s energy consumption is mostly drawn from renewable sources, which represent 74% of our direct and indirect energy consumption. Over the last two decades, West Fraser has moved to replace fossil fuel use with more renewable energy while increasing energy efficiency to control the Company’s energy requirements. We operate six renewable energy plants with 850 gigawatt hours of renewable energy generation capacity.

The energy sources we rely on are examples of the opportunity presented by a sustainable circular loop. West Fraser can generate electricity from the byproducts of processing, such as wood waste and pulp mill effluent. 89% of West Fraser’s facilities are able to self-generate a portion of their energy needs from these carbon-neutral fuel sources. Overall, biomass provides more than half of the Company’s total energy needs.

Energy Objectives

Strategic Intent

Highlights on Progress

Increase energy efficiency throughout our operations

Quesnel River Pulp mill implemented a steam “upcycling” efficiency project that allows the mill to reduce natural gas use by recovering more steam from one part of the pulping process to be reused in later stages rather than generating steam anew. The project is estimated to reduce 10,000 tCO2e emissions each year. We participate and appreciate the support of BC Hydro’s Strategic Energy Management program and Energy Efficiency Alberta’s custom energy managers working with our operations to understand our energy usage and identify industrial energy efficiency opportunities.

Continue developing ways to generate or procure renewable energy, optimizing available biomass as a renewable fuel source, and research and development of energy alternatives to fossil fuels

There are two main energy sources in our facilities: electricity and thermal energy. The first priority is to optimize thermal energy that comes from biomass (e.g. hog fuel) to heat buildings and dry our products over purchased or fossil fuel-based energy sources. Second, we explore alternatives to purchasing electricity from fossil fuel-based power grids and are continuing to investigate other opportunities. In 2020, we added a power purchase agreement securing zero-emission solar power for our Alberta sawmills.

Our internal energy and carbon team assesses and evaluates the energy demands of each mill, and the different manufacturing processes looking for energy efficiencies and opportunities to switch from fossil fuels to lower-emission sources. Energy reporting provides summarized enterprise data and further segmentation by solid wood operations (41 mills) separate from pulp and paper facilities (5 facilities). West Fraser acquired Norbord Inc. on February 1, 2021, bringing 16 engineered wood facilities to the Company operating in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. This acquisition does not significantly shift the proportions of emissions sources in our business.

Our base comparison year is 2005 for several reasons. It aligns with the GHG reporting by the Government of Canada, the International Paris Agreement, and industry reporting related to our commitment to the Forest Product’s Association of Canada’s 30 by 30 climate change challenge. 2005 also more accurately reflects the historical change for West Fraser given the facilities acquired over our business history.

For all energy data, facilities not wholly-owned by West Fraser are calculated based on an equity share of the energy inputs to the facility. To date, all partnerships are 50%. West Fraser’s energy reporting software uses conversion factors from the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Emission Factors for Greenhouse Inventories for our US operations, and the conversion factors from the Statistics Canada’s Report on Energy Supply and Demand in Canada (57-003-X) for facilities located in Canada.