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Biofuels development to flow from proposed legislation

WINNIPEG, Man. -- Streamlining licensing, adopting fuel quality standards and establishing the framework for a biod...

WINNIPEG, Man. — Streamlining licensing, adopting fuel quality standards and establishing the framework for a biodiesel mandate are among proposed legislative changes reintroduced by Manitoba Science, Technology, Energy and Mines Minister Jim Rondeau.

Manitoba is a leader in the biofuels sector and these changes will build on the work started in 2003 with the enactment of the Biofuels Act, said Rondeau. Significant biodiesel production is poised to start in Manitoba as Husky Energys new 130-million-litre ethanol production plant nears completion in the coming months. Across the country, the environmental and industrial benefits of biodiesel are well known and it is exciting to see other provinces develop incentive structures as ethanol production ramps up.

Proposed changes in the Biofuels Amendment Act include: establishing a licensing regime for biodiesel manufacturers, providing for the adoption of biodiesel fuel quality standards, and creating the framework for a future biodiesel sales mandate.

Our government will continue to develop the biofuel sector with strict fuel specifications in order to ensure sustainable growth, added Rondeau.

The bill would also make two significant changes to Manitobas ethanol policy framework. The first change would relate to the way in which the ethanol content requirement in the fuel supply will be calculated. The bill proposes to change the ethanol sales mandate to a requirement that, under a pool average, 8.5% of the volume of gasoline sold in Manitoba will have to be ethanol, but the amount of ethanol required to meet the sale mandate would not ultimately be changed.

The minister said that harmonizing Manitobas pool average with other jurisdictions would put the province in a better trade position with neighbouring provinces such as Ontario and Saskatchewan.

The second change relates to the structure of the incentive for ethanol production in Manitoba, revising it from the current tax reduction for gasohol (E10) to a production grant payable to Manitoba ethanol producers.

The development of biofuels provides new economic opportunities for rural communities and Manitoba producers, said Rondeau. Along with wind, geothermal and hydroelectric power, biofuels are a key part of our clean-energy strategy and help us meet our Kyoto commitments as well as the major recommendations of the 2002 Climate Change Task Force report.

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