The company that hoped to build an ethanol plant on P.E.I. says it's now considering taking its business elsewhere.


Ron Coles said his company was surprised by Monday's government announcement. ((CBC))

Atlantec BioEnergy had made arrangements for Island farmers to grow 2,000 hectares of sugar beets this year to begin to fuel an $85 million plant in Borden. The company has also invested $2.5 million in research.

But now that the province has released a report critical of the idea of an ethanol plant, Atlantec says it won't be asking farmers to plant the crop, and it's talking to other jurisdictions.

"The timing of some of the announcements was a little surprising to us, because we're just truly in the evaluation part," said communications manager Ron Coles.

"We obviously have investors, we have equipment purchased and delivered to P.E.I., so we are revamping our plan for our project. We do have interested parties elsewhere that we are now heavily exploring."

Atlantec does plan to meet with the government committee looking at biofuels next week.

Coles said the company had hoped the P.E.I. plant would be the mother plant for smaller facilities elsewhere. As it stands, Coles said P.E.I. may hear an announcement within the month of a new location for the ethanol plant.

The provincial environmental and renewable industries committee on Tuesday released a report recommending a new government committee be set up to evaluate potential biofuel projects.

The report also stated that in order for the province to support an ethanol plant, sugar beets would use up all Island farmland not currently in potato production.