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Bioenergy Could “Fuel The Future” Of Atlantic Canada

Bioenergy could “fuel the future” of Atlantic Canada
Industry association presents business case, proposes recommendations for economic growth

A new report shows a biofuels production industry in Atlantic Canada could generate $1.5 billion in GDP, $273 million in combined tax revenues and close to 10,000 jobs, after just 5 years of operation.

The findings come as the result of a comprehensive project to explore Atlantic Canada’s bioenergy opportunities, led by the Atlantic Council for Bioenergy Co-operative (ACBC) in partnership with BioAtlantech New Brunswick.

ACBC released the project report – “Fueling the Future: Atlantic Canada’s Bioenergy Opportunities Project” – revealing the region’s asset capacity, presenting a business case for developing a biofuels industry – with calculated proof of its economic impact – and making key public policy recommendations necessary to move forward.

Research confirms a region rich in natural resources with abundant crop acreage for a variety of feedstock – corn, wheat, barley, soybean, canola and sugar/energy beets – that can be used to produce biofuels, as well as the academic research capacity to capitalize on new technologies. That, combined with the demand created by Renewable Fuels Standards recently introduced across North America, paints a promising picture for Atlantic Canada.
To meet the mandated requirements for blending renewable fuels, producers in this region need to supply 325 ML of product – 250 ML ethanol and 75 ML biodiesel – a capacity which is currently not being met through domestic production, resulting in a significant loss to environmental benefit and economic impact.

This was validated through the analytical work of Gardner Pinfold Consultants Inc., who were contracted to assess the feasibility and quantify the direct and spin-off impacts of developing and operating a biofuels industry in the region.

The analysis showed that construction and operation of just one plant would create 700 jobs, over $40 million in GDP and close to $10 million in federal and provincial tax revenue. Using the 325 ML production volume required to meet the national mandate for renewable fuels would mean construction and operation of up to 13 plants across Atlantic Canada, totaling annual economic impacts of up to $244 million in GDP, nearly 5,000 full time jobs and $125 million in labour income, and close to $50 million in combined tax revenues.

To truly realize the positive impact a biofuels industry holds for Atlantic Canada, the report proposes four recommendations – key public policy instruments critical for this industry to advance:
1) Implement renewable fuels regulations and accompanying legislation;
2) Develop national and provincial capital assistance programming;
3) Create production incentives; and,
4) Establish a regional working group of industry, government and academia to act as catalyst for implementing the recommendations and push the biofuels industry to the next level.