Canadian programme to entice coal users to switch to biomass

The province of Manitoba in Canada has introduced a new programme that will give $400,000 (€308,000) in grants to coal companies that switch to biomass energy projects.

The Manitoba Biomass Energy Support Program (MBESP) is aimed at supporting the growth of biomass within the energy production industry, and the agriculture, food and rural minister, Ron

Kostyshyn says the biomass will be taken from local resources.

‘Biomass is a made-in-Manitoba fuel that can be produced from agricultural residues like straw, oat hulls and flax shives,’ says Kostyshyn.  ‘Manitoba is committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and with the assistance of programs like this, Manitoba farms will reduce their carbon footprint and continue to be part of the solution to environmental challenges.’

He anticipates that the programme will increase to $1.5 million in support later on in 2012, using the money that comes from the new tax on coal use which was implemented at the beginning of this year.

Grants of up to £12,000 each will be given to coal users to put towards the price difference between cal and biomass products until the end of March 2012.

Further grants of up to $50,000 will also be given to those who use and process biomass, for the purchase of biomass products to be used in renewable heating systems. This money can be used to upgrade existing systems that manufacture or consume biomass fuel.

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