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Agritech Ethanol president Mark Lowe denied there would be pollution from the plant. ((Malcolm Pratt/CBC))

It was meant to be a celebration of another renewable energy coup for P.E.I., but the provincial Green Party turned up to protest the idea of building an ethanol plant in Georgetown.

'It's a lot better than burning fossil fuels.'—Mark Lowe, president, Agritech Ethanol

Provincial party leader Sharon Labchuk didn't wait for the question period at the end of the news conference before saying the plant, which would make the fuel additive from beets, would pollute the air and water of the eastern shore community.

Mark Lowe,the president of the company building the plant, took exception to Labchuk's charge.

"It's a lot better than burning fossil fuels," the Agritech Ethanol president said. "Just because it's new east of Ontario doesn't mean it's a bad thing. I think people who do not believe the plants are a good thing should visit plants."

Lowe said the plant would not create air pollution, while the water it used would be captured and reused.

'Net energy loss'

Following the news conference, Green Party member Hannah McKinnon continued the attack, telling CBC News producing ethanol takes more energy than is derived from the product.

"You have a net energy loss," said McKinnon, who holds a masters degree in biomedicine, bioscience and society from the London School of Economics. Typically, she said, producing ethanol requires burning more fossil fuels that is saved from the ethanol created.

"The ethanol market is still very dependent on the fossil fuel market," she said

McKinnon added it will take a lot of land to supply beets to the plant, and worried growing so many beets could put a strain on farmland in the province.