PEI

P.E.I. lagging on biofuels: farmer

Canada has new rules promoting the biofuel industry, but some on P.E.I. fear the province is not poised to take advantage.

Canada has new rules promoting the biofuel industry, but some on P.E.I. fear the province is not poised to take advantage.

A conference Friday at the University of Prince Edward Island gathered 50 academics, politicians and private-sector leaders to talk about energy in Canada and specifically in P.E.I.

As of July 1, federal regulations require gasoline to contain five per cent biofuel. Diesel and home heating fuel must have two per cent biofuel.

The implementation of those rules has been delayed a year in P.E.I. because the industry is not ready. There is no biofuel plant on the Island, although the province is negotiating with a Nova Scotia company to put one in Charlottetown's Cornwall Business Park.

Money being lost, farmer says

Gerard Mol, a biofuel farmer in Kinkora, said the province is not capitalizing on the new rules.

"It's only a year basically and they have to have this in place. I don't know how we're going to get that done," he said Friday.

"We need to make something local here. We can grow it here, process it here, use it here."

Mol has been using a mixture of canola oil and diesel fuel for some of his tractors and a farm generator since 2008. He also sells it to Japan and Germany.

"And that goes to the bio-diesel fuel industry. It's kind of sad when they can make money by shipping it from here to there and make diesel fuel out of it. There's something wrong with the picture," he said.

'Phenomenal' opportunity for P.E.I.

Richard Brown, the province's energy minister, said the new regulations can create opportunity.

"There's a phenomenal opportunity here for Prince Edward Island in advancing these two fuel types," he said.

"Before those mandates came in there was a big 'if' about it, but now the potential is there, and as this conference is saying, there is a shift that is going on here. It's going toward more ethanol and biofuels."