Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

October 04, 2007 16:03 ET

Canada's New Government Gives $5M Boost to Biofuels Sector

UNITY, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Oct. 4, 2007) - The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today announced that an ethanol plant will be built in Unity, Saskatchewan, as a result of the new federal ecoAgriculture Biofuels Capital (ecoABC) initiative.

The ecoABC initiative was first launched by Canada's New Government in April 2007 to support the construction or expansion of transportation biofuel production facilities in Canada.

Unity's new plant has received direct equity investment from 317 farmers totalling more than $12 million, and an investment of $5,050,000 by Canada's New Government.

"Canada's New Government introduced this initiative to help Canada's biofuels industry seize better opportunities, remain at the forefront of biofuels production internationally, and to increase the production of cleaner fuels," said Minister Ritz. "Soon, Unity, Saskatchewan, will be benefiting from a state-of-the-art, $38 million ethanol plant, which will use approximately 68,000 tonnes of wheat per year with about 95 per cent of it coming from local suppliers. Our ecoABC initiative will enable the Unity plant to produce 25,250,000 litres of biofuels annually - this is good for our farmers, our communities, and Canada's environment."

The plant is scheduled to begin production in September 2008. It will be constructed and operated by North West Bio Energy Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of North West Terminal Ltd. The new plant will be located adjacent to North West Terminal's inland grain terminal in Unity.

"To create new opportunities and prosperity for agriculture, we need leadership like that shown by Minister Ritz and Canada's New Government," said Jim Skinner, President of North West Terminal Ltd. "Our project is possible because of the ecoABC initiative."

The plant will use approximately 68,000 tonnes of wheat per year to produce ethanol and dried distillers grains. About 95 per cent of wheat will be provided by local suppliers. The project will help Canada meet its target of an average of 5% renewable fuel content in gasoline by 2010 and broaden economic opportunities for Saskatchewan.

The ecoABC initiative is a $200 million, four-year program that provides repayable contributions for the construction or expansion of transportation biofuel production facilities. Funding is conditional upon agricultural producer investment in the biofuel projects and the use of agricultural feedstock to produce the biofuel. The initiative is part of more than $500 million announced by the federal government to assist farmers and rural communities seize new market opportunities in the agricultural bioproducts sector through biofuels and bioproducts initiatives.

In July, Prime Minister Stephen Harper further announced that the government will provide up to $1.5 billion in the form of incentives over nine years to producers of renewable alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel under the ecoENERGY for Biofuels program.

For more information on the ecoABC initiative, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/ecoabc. For more information on the Government of Canada's ecoAction plan, please visit www.ecoaction.gc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

North West Bio Energy Ltd.

North West Bio Energy Ltd. was established for the purpose of constructing and operating a 25,250,000 litre per year fuel-ethanol facility. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of North West Terminal Ltd. (NWT), a farmer-owned in-land grain terminal located one mile east of Unity, Saskatchewan. NWT was established in February 1993 and began accepting grain in June 1996. The terminal has a total storage capacity of 2.3 million bushels (63,000 metric tonnes) and is capable of receiving up to 30,000 bushels of grain per hour.

The ecoAgriculture Biofuels Capital (ecoABC) Initiative

The ecoABC initiative is a federal $200 million four-year program, ending on March 31, 2011, that provides repayable contributions for the construction or expansion of transportation biofuel production facilities.

Funding is provided for projects that use agricultural feedstock to produce biofuels and that have new agricultural producer equity investments in the projects equal to, at minimum, 5% of the total eligible project costs. The funding contributed increases as the level of producer equity investment increases.

Corporations (including co-operatives), individuals and partnerships are eligible to apply for ecoABC funding. Eligible applicants cannot be subject to controlling interest by a federal, provincial or municipal government.

The ecoABC initiative is delivered nationally by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. It is designed to provide an opportunity for agricultural producers to diversify their economic base and participate in the biofuel industry through equity investment/ownership in biofuel production facilities.

Canada's New Government is investing a total of $2.2 billion toward the goal of reaching an average of 5% renewable content in gasoline by 2010 and 2% renewable content in diesel fuel by 2012.

For more information on the ecoABC Initiative, or to access a program Letter of Interest form and instructions, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/ecoabc, call 1-866-367-8506, or e-mail: ecoABC@agr.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    613-759-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    or
    Minister Ritz's Office
    Todd MacKay
    613-759-1059