Trees and wood fiber are more than just the renewable natural resources from which we make our everyday products. They serve as an important source of renewable energy.
In 2020, 73 percent of the energy for our pulp and paper mills came from renewable sources. This is better than the industry average of about 65 percent, according to the American Forest and Paper Association. Our mills also generated the equivalent of 71 percent of their electricity needs, reducing their dependence on the grid.
This renewable energy comes from biomass — byproducts from our manufacturing process, such as black liquor, bark and wood residues. Unlike coal or other fossil fuels, energy captured from biomass results in net zero emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the long term.
Biomass (wood, wood waste and biofuels) is the United States’ largest source of domestic renewable energy, supplying more energy than wind and solar combined.
Not only do we use that energy to power our mills, but also we provide renewable energy credits to help other companies meet their own internal sustainability goals. In many cases, these companies pass on the benefits to customers who are demanding products that are manufactured using renewable energy.
Similarly, we sell renewable energy credits into government-mandated programs in states such as Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
“The volume we are able to supply in these markets helps make those credits more affordable,” says Steve Thomas, who manages Domtar’s energy program. “In the cases where state programs mandate a certain percentage of renewable energy, rate payers save when more sustainable energy is available.”
This renewable energy is used to power tens of thousands of homes and businesses while lowering the cost of electric supply for these ratepayers.