June 18, 2007

$80M SaskBIO program to support expansion of biofuel industry

A four-year, $80-million program will support the construction and expansion of transportation ethanol or biodiesel (biofuels) production facilities in Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Biofuels Investment Opportunity (SaskBIO) Program will provide repayable contributions of up to $10 million per project. An additional $2 million will also be provided for biofuels and bioproducts research and development.

In announcing the program at the North East Saskatchewan Ethanol Forum in Tisdale, Premier Lorne Calvert said, "We created SaskBIO to provide an opportunity for farmers and communities to participate in the value-added biofuels industry in Saskatchewan through ownership of biofuels facilities. This program will also ensure that Saskatchewan is an attractive jurisdiction in which to build a sustainable biofuels industry.

"The further development of a biofuels industry is an extraordinary opportunity for Saskatchewan, and we are taking the necessary steps to ensure the opportunity is realized," he added.

Corporations, individuals or partnerships, including co-operatives, are eligible to apply for funding to construct new or expand existing biofuels production facilities. Program applicants must have a minimum of 5% farmer-community investment, and a minimum production capacity of two million litres per year for both new and expanding facilities.

Saskatchewan is well-suited for the production of biofuels. The province, which was the first to make a legislative commitment to ethanol use, has approximately 45% of all the arable land in Canada, more than 40% of the nation's agricultural feedstock, plus a significant forest resource.

Applications will be accepted upon completion of program details, with rollout of the capital program to begin in 2008-09. More information is available from Scott Brown in the Department of Regional Economic and Co-operative Development, 306/787-4031, E-mail: sbrown@agr.gov.sk.ca.

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