Alta. energy strategy calls for biofuels standard

Alberta’s new provincial energy strategy calls for the province to adopt a renewable fuels standard by 2010.

The standard, proposed in the strategy released Thursday, calls for a minimum ethanol content of five per cent in gasoline sold in Alberta, as well as a minimum renewable (biodiesel) content in diesel fuel sold in the province, by 2010.

The standard “will help Alberta meet its climate change targets by reducing (carbon dioxide) emissions by about one million tonnes annually, and will support Alberta’s renewable fuels sector and the technology development of next generation biofuels,” the province said.

Renewable fuels standard (RFS) policies have been used as a “catalyst” in all jurisdictions that have successfully established a biofuels sector, the province said. Alberta’s blending requirements and implementation date are in line with the federal government’s planned RFS, it noted.

The province said its RFS will include benchmarks for environmental criteria, established on a baseline level of emissions or environmental impact assessment of petroleum products. Benefits will include reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and net energy use, as well as improved waste utilization.

The province noted it has also extended the funding deadline for its Biorefining Commercialization and Market Development Program, and for its Biorefining Infrastructure Development Program, from 2009 to 2011.

The $5 million cap on grants under these programs has also been revised to a graduated scale, which the province said will provide a “more balanced” funding approach for larger projects.

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