The Northern Ontario Bioeconomy Strategy is moving forward, after the federal and provincial governments awarded funding to biomass proponents.

The governments jointly awarded $216,792 — matching contributions of $108,396 — to the Biomass North Development Centre and the Union of Ontario Indians to implement the strategy, which was developed in consultation with stakeholders in 2015.

A key part of the implementation will include establishing 13 demonstration facilities across the region to showcase the efficiency and effectiveness of various biomass initiatives.

The demonstration facilities will focus on priority areas including: sustainable supply model; bioenergy and fuels; and biocomposites and chemicals. As part of the project, the organization will also launch a training plan, and seek to develop new markets and international partnerships.

“We are thrilled that the federal and provincial governments recognize the importance of our efforts and are investing to implement the Northern Ontario Bioeconomy Strategy,” said Dawn Lambe, executive director of Biomass North, in a release.

“Once fully implemented, the strategy will help revive our forestry sector, create business opportunities, enhance First Nations partnerships, reduce energy costs, and support the environmental sustainability of our natural resources.”

The funding comes from FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, while the provincial contribution comes from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC).