Canada biofuels grant program gets underway

By | May 25, 2007
Future Canadian biofuels producers are already taking advantage of the Canadian government's new four-year, CAN$200 million biofuels capital grant program, dubbed the ecoAgriculture Biofuels Capital Initiative (ecoABC). After the program officially launched April 23, applications to the program were encouraged to be submitted, and companies such as Biostreet Canada Inc. (BCI), a future biodiesel producer based out of Calgary, Alberta, wasted no time.

BCI was recently awarded a grant for its first project that will feature a crushing facility and a 175 million-liter-per-year (46 MMgy) biodiesel plant on the same site located in Vegreville, Alberta. The company plans to build several adjoining oilseed crush and biodiesel facilities throughout Canada. "It's an excellent program," said Angela Reid, BCI vice president of government and public affairs, of ecoABC. "Going through the entire application process is very beneficial to start-up companies in just making sure all the ducks are in a row and receiving a grant-for us, it was recognition and viability as a business."

First announced in December 2006, the ecoABC was created to provide an opportunity for agricultural producers to diversify their economic bases and participate in the biofuel industry through equity investment/ownership in biofuel production facilities, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). The program provides repayable contributions of up to CAN$25 million per project for the construction or expansion of transportation biofuel production facilities. Corporations (including cooperatives), individuals and partnerships are eligible to apply for funding, according to AAFC. The projects must have new agricultural producer equity investments equal to 5 percent of the total eligible project costs.

Reid said she has no doubt that this new initiative will help foster growth within the Canadian biofuels industry. "The [financial] support from the federal government and the administrative support from the provinces really confirm that all levels of government, industry and obviously the public are increasingly demanding and supporting a transition from fossil fuels," Reid said.

EcoABC, which will expire March 31, 2011, will help the nation reach the government's current 5 percent biofuels target by 2010. In March, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that C$2 billion would be set aside for biofuel incentives for the next seven years.

For more information about the ecoABC, visit www.agr.gc.ca or call (866) 367-8506.
 
 
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