Government funds $60 million in grants for bioenergy

Above: Minister Phillips and Stefan Michalski tour the Lethbridge Biogas facility – GOA photo

by Morinville News Staff

Thirty-one bioenergy companies will receive short-term funding from the government to support the low-carbon industry.

Bioenergy, low-carbon energy or fuel made from agricultural products, including crops and livestock waste. The government says Alberta’s bioenergy industry powers the equivalent of 200,000 homes using wood pellets, biogas, and liquid biofuels.

The province said its $60-million Bioenergy Producer Program would support 500 direct jobs.

“Bioenergy producers are job creators and technology innovators,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office, in a release Thursday. “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.”

Three of the facilities getting money are under construction, adding $200 million in new provincial investment.

All of the grant recipients produce biofuels, electricity, heat or wood pellets the government says help reduce greenhouse gas in Alberta. The grants will help keep 1.5 megatonnes of emissions out of the air, the government asserts.

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

Money for the grant will come from carbon tax revenues.

The Wildrose laid some criticism on the carbon tax at the premier’s feet Thursday, accusing her of making insensitive comments about families struggling with the new tax. In particular, they accused her of saying those expressing concerns about the carbon tax are doing a “chicken little routine.”

“It’s easy for the Premier and her MLAs to make light of Albertans who are worried about the carbon tax, but I assure you, families struggling to pay their bills every month and businesses trying to keep their doors open are taking this very seriously,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “This carbon tax is making life more difficult for Albertans and making our province less competitive. This is not a laughing matter.”

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