The Alberta (Canada) government is committing C$239 million (US$ 212 million) over the next five years to strengthen and expand the province’s—more widely known as the motherlode of oil sands—bioenergy sector.
Of that, C$209 million will fund the Renewable Energy Producer Credit program to help Alberta industry compete with other jurisdictions that provide programs and tax exemptions to distributors who blend biofuels. The credits will be available to eligible commercial bioenergy products processed in Alberta from April 2007 to March 2011. This program will replace the existing Alberta ethanol road tax exemption policy.
An additional C$30-million, three-year commitment available through the Energy Innovation Fund will be initiated immediately through a commercialization program supporting technology investment in the province. It will support establishment of the infrastructure required to market and distribute bioenergy products within the existing market for fuel or electrical power.
Both the $209 million and $30 million investments are key components of Alberta Agriculture’ss nine-point bioenergy plan. The nine points are:
Commercialization/Market Development Program (C$24 million through 2008-09)
- Develop/expand/strengthen Alberta’s biodiesel, biogas and ethanol production capacity in response to market opportunities;
- Leverage industry funds to focus on research commercialization, technology transfer, new generation co-operatives, capacity building, market development and advocacy for ensuring market acceptance;
- Feasibility studies, opportunity analysis and product development costs related to concept and technology evaluation, technical assistance, and equipment development;
- Market research costs related to specific product opportunities, costs related to buyer presentations, product reformulation, and transportation of samples; and
- Bioenergy advocacy and market awareness support.
Bioenergy Infrastructure Development Grant Program (C$6 million through 2008-09)
- Leverage industry/investors/municipal funds to develop and expand the distribution infrastructure to connect Alberta produced ethanol, biodiesel and biogas (methane) to the marketplace;
- Development and expansion of the distribution infrastructure of biofuel and energy transmission in Alberta;
- Accommodation of micro-generation interconnections and biogas processing and pipeline infrastructure; and
- Support rural development regional distribution priorities and facilitate the application of new technology in biofuel and energy transmission and distribution infrastructure particularly in rural areas.
Renewable Energy Producer Credit Program (C$209 million from 2007-2011)
Energy Microgeneration Standards and Policy Revisions
- Clearly define the regulatory protocols required to establish processing plants like biogas digesters and biodiesel processing facilities; and
- Through a cross-ministry approach, ensure a timely and transparent review of investment applications better meeting the needs of industry.
Bio-industrial network development
- Facilitate the demonstration and integration of bioenergy processing with existing manufacturing processors for increased regional development.
- Demonstrate “cluster” efficiency—through the strategic integration and clustering of key processors provide a significant improvement in competitiveness and reduced environmental impact.
Taxation and Investment Instruments for the Bioenergy Sector
- Work with Federal counterparts to investigate options to improve capital flow to bioenergy industry.
National Renewable Fuel Standard and Energy Market Targets
- Align to a five per cent national renewable fuels standard by 2010 to create market stability that will benefit existing renewable fuel industries and establish a future market for newly established fuel technologies.
- Within the overall renewable fuels mandated target, support ethanol and biodiesel mandates should be specifically designated to ensure the emerging biodiesel industry has an opportunity to capture some of the benefits of a renewable fuels mandate.
Specified Risk Material (SRM) Disposal Protocol
- Investigate and establish regulatory protocol with the federal government in the safe disposal of SRMs through appropriate bioenergy technology adaptation.
Investment Support through Existing Programs that align with Bioenergy Development
- Alberta Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) lending programs.
- New Generation Cooperative Initiatives.
- Industry Development Research Funds.
- AVAC commercialization funding.
- Municipal Industrial Wastewater Infrastructure for Agricultural Processing Program.
- Rural Development Project Fund.
(A hat-tip to Erik Vandist!)