Canada’s minister of public services and procurement Anita Anand has been tasked with developing a strategy to power federal government buildings with 100% renewable energy by 2022.
Anand will work with provinces and energy suppliers as the government’s “first purchaser” to help support the growth of clean electricity and renewable power sources, said prime minister Justin Trudeau.
In a mandate letter outlining priorities, Trudeau said Anand must “support the conversion of government fleets to zero-emission vehicles”.
Anand, who assumed the ministerial role in November 2019 following Trudeau’s re-election, has also been tasked with implementing an e-procurement solution for the government.
The system forms part of plans for the “modernisation of procurement practices so that they are simpler, less administratively burdensome, user-friendly, encourage greater competition and include practices that support innovation, green and social procurement”.
Trudeau also called on the minister to ensure better vendor management tools are developed to hold contractors accountable for poor performance and to develop initiatives to increase the diversity of bidders on government contracts.
Separately, climate think tank Sandbag warned that plans to convert Europe’s coal plants to burn biomass instead risk accelerating climate change.
Biomass, such as wood in the form of pellets or chips, is increasingly used as a fuel to generate electricity.
In its report, Sandbag identified 67 coal-to-biomass projects in Europe, mainly in Finland, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands. The 10 largest proposed projects alone would require 36m tonnes of wood pellets, similar to current global wood pellet production, the think tank said.
“To fuel these planned biomass power plants, every single year suppliers would need to cut down the equivalent of most of the forest in the Netherlands, or half of Germany’s Black Forest [2,700 sq km],” the report said.
The planned conversions would also generate 67m tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to half of the emissions from Poland’s coal power stations.
Sandbag said governments should focus policy support on renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, which “deliver near-immediate carbon and cost savings versus fossil fuels, rather than on biomass, which delivers questionable carbon savings”.
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