Alberta government unveils $60m grant fund for bioenergy industry

The Canada-based Alberta government has announced that it has launched a CAN$60m (€42m) grant pot to help bioenergy producers in the province.

On the government’s website, it announced that its ‘Bioenergy Producer Program’ would help 500 direct jobs and is part of a larger effort to help companies succeed in Alberta’s low-carbon future.

Alberta’s bioenergy industry powers the equivalent of 200,000 homes using wood pellets, biogas and liquid biofuels. The industry contributes about $800 million to Alberta’s economy.

“Bioenergy producers are job creators and technology innovators. The Alberta government is committed to supporting them, their employees and local economies as we diversify our energy sector, boost our economy and reduce emissions in Alberta,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office

The short-term funding will keep operations going while a third-party adviser and other stakeholders advise government on new policy options to support the industry and build on a program begun in 2006. A report is expected by the end of March.

Of the facilities getting money, three are under construction, meaning new jobs and over $200 million in new investment to the province. The grants will help keep 1.5 megatonnes of emissions out of the air.

The grant recipients all produce biofuels, electricity, heat or wood pellets that help make real greenhouse gas reductions in Alberta. The grants are production-based, meaning money is provided based on how much bioenergy each company generates. All types of bioenergy are funded at the same rate.

“We are excited to hear that bioenergy’s role in the fight against climate change is recognized. This money is important to support biogas facilities like ours and to keep Albertans working as we build a self-sustainable, lower-carbon future,” said Stefan Michalski, director of operations at Lethbridge Biogas.

As with all other programs and initiatives that focus on emissions reductions in Alberta, money for this grant will come from carbon revenues.

This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Bioenergy Insight. 

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