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Report shows Atlantic biofuel potential

August 29, 2013, Fredericton, NB - A new report shows a biofuels production industry in Atlantic Canada could generate $1.5 billon in GDP, $273 million in combined tax revenues and close to 10,000 jobs, after just five years of operation.


August 29, 2013
By Scott Jamieson


Topics

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
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.

Others in industry and academia welcomed the report. ”More than any other policy tool, mandated requirements for renewable fuel content build domestic capacity for biofuel production and stimulate economic growth,” said W. Scott Thurlow, president of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association. “We support this call to implement renewable fuels regulations in Atlantic Canada and further develop a biofuels industry in the region.”

"Among the most compelling arguments presented by ACBC in advocating
the development of a ‘local’ biofuels capability in Atlantic Canada is
the prospect of US (and therefore Canadian) moves to a 10 per cent and perhaps
even a 15 per cent mandate for biofuels in the renewable fuels standards in
coming years," commented Dr. David Wheeler, president of Cape Breton University in his blog. "This will be especially likely if the targets can be
ascribed increasingly to ‘cellulosic biofuels’ ie biofuels based on
crops that do not compete at all with food crops. But unless the region amends current policy, we will miss out on this
opportunity altogether.  Not only do we not require blending, we
inadvertently allowed the creation of our very own loopholes, for
example the exemption permitted for the (soon to close) Imperial Oil
refinery in Dartmouth."

As Atlantic Canada’s lead bioenergy association, ACBC is the voice for the development and advancement of
a sustainable bioenergy industry in this region.
The
“Fueling the Future”
project spanned 14 months of research
and stakeholder engagement and represents the first collaborative effort of an organized and established pan-Atlantic industry group to illustrate the realistic potential of this region’s bioenergy industry and provide clear
recommendations which, when implemented, will create the right
circumstances for
positive change and
opportunities in this region.
A copy of the report is available here.


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