Alberta announces $60M in grants for bioenergy industry

The Alberta government is doling out $60 million from its carbon tax revenues to help bioenergy producers in the province.

Funds will come out of the carbon tax as short-term support

Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips announced $60 million for bioenergy producers in the province on Thursday.

The Alberta government is doling out $60 million from its carbon tax revenues to help bioenergy producers in the province. 

According to a government news release, the money will support 500 direct jobs in an industry it says powers the equivalent of 200,000 homes and contributes $800 million to the provincial economy.

Bioenergy involves producing fuels, electricity, heat or wood pellets from agricultural products, including animal waste. 

"Bioenergy producers are job creators and technology innovators," said Environment Minister Shannon Phillips in the release.

"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."

Short-term solution

The government said the money is short-term funding to "keep operations going" while it looks at ways to keep the sector sustainable in the long run. 

An industry review is currently underway.

Under the program, producers receive credits for their products. Those producing first-generation biofuels, for example, will receive $0.10 per litre for the first 150 million litres produced. That drops to $0.06 per litre for anything over 150 million litres.

Three of the facilities that will get funding are under construction, which the government said will mean over $200 million in new investment. It also says the grants will "help keep 1.5 megatonnes of emissions out of the air."

This isn't the first time an Alberta government has pitched in money to support the industry. In 2006, the then-PC government offered $239 million to the industry.