Exploring Tools to Develop the Bioeconomy in Eastern Ontario
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The bioeconomy, which would utilize biomass resources for the renewable production of energy, fuels, and products, has been proposed as a mechanism by which Ontario’s resource-dependent communities might be revitalized. This thesis applies a knowledge economy framework to the establishment of a bioeconomy, with a strong focus on bioenergy as a first step, in Kingston and the surrounding region. The knowledge economy approach was examined in relation to other measures of sustainability and security. A series of 25 expert interviews informed an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats on the topic of the knowledge-based bioeconomy study region. The ability of the knowledge-based approach to assess the requirements of the bioeconomy was then evaluated using a statistical assessment of the study region based on Florida’s ‘creative economy’ framework, and this assessment was compared to key factors noted in the SWOT analysis. Research findings indicate that basic necessities such as feedstock, technology and transportation routes are likely available across the study region. However, key elements of the knowledge economy are absent particularly human resources in the ‘creative’ class. The knowledge-based approach is not particularly well suited to capturing all aspects of the bioeconomy, as it overlooks physical geographical features, which may be better measured by other tools. More focused policy with regard to renewable energy locally, provincially and nationally is seen to be important for advancing the bioeconomy. Acting on opportunities and using regional strengths will insure a successful implementation of a knowledge-based bioeconomy that will provide the benefits of economic growth associated with knowledge economies.