July 24, 2006

Sask task force proposes measures to foster biodiesel industry growth

A final report by Saskatchewan's Biodiesel Development Task Force calls on the province to work with the federal government to develop trade-compliant programs and policies for the biodiesel industry, establish a National Bio-Products Centre based in Saskatoon, and promote business structures that facilitate Canadian primary producer investment in biodiesel production facilities.

The Task Force consulted with key stakeholders to examine the current status, challenges and opportunities of Saskatchewan's biodiesel industry. "It has been challenging to develop recommendations and direction for an industry still very much in its infancy," said task force co-chair Judie Dyck, adding, "Both the provincial and federal governments will need to be involved to develop a plan if Saskatchewan is to benefit from a biodiesel industry."

The report recommends that the Saskatchewan government request and support the development of a national renewable fuels strategy which would encourage development of production capacity commensurate with regional advantages. Development of the strategy would be led by the federal government in consultation with the provinces and territories.

The province should also ask Ottawa to implement a renewable fuel standard (RFS) with separate allocations for biodiesel and ethanol in on-road and off-road vehicles. The Task Force proposes a biodiesel RFS target of 2% by 2010, rising to 5% by 2015.

Another recommendation calls for the two levels of government to develop programs and policies to help the biodiesel industry grow and develop. Initiatives should encourage production, consumption and technology development, and should consider inter-provincial and international trade requirements, says the report.

The Task Force strongly supports the development of performance-based standards; these, it says, should be feedstock-neutral, should facilitate least-cost production and distribution, and should protect the reliability and warranty requirements of consumers. Accordingly, it says the province should call on the federal government to fund research and testing on biodiesel standard development for blends B1 to B5 and for B6 to B20 blends of biodiesel with low-sulfur diesel. The federal government should also be asked to establish a multi-year funding program for testing of biodiesel and biodiesel blends. This, says the Task Force, would help biodiesel production and distribution companies meet the standards.

Finally, the report says the province should be supported by the federal government in its continuing research and development, commercialization of new products, development of new platform crop varieties and development and commercialization of biodiesel industary co-products and byproducts. A western Canadian energy and greenhouse gas life cycle analysis should also be conducted as well, in accordance with international standards, adds the Task Force.

Saskatchewan's central location and ample available cropland (43% of Canada's total arable acreage) put it in a position to take a lead role in the development and maintenance of a biodiesel industry, says the report. The province also has the infrastructure to develop a sustainable biofuel industry and experience, based on its leadership in developing the ethanol industry, adds the Task Force.

The Biodiesel Development Task Force final report may be viewed on-line at www.agr.gov.sk.ca, or requested from the Saskatchewan Canola Growers Association at 1-800-690-5788. More information is also available from Judie Dyck at the Association, 306/668-2380

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