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Feds and province boost Manitoba biomass program


January 19, 2016
By Renée Francoeur


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January 19, 2016 – The Canadian and Manitoba governments say they are providing up to $500,000 for 12 projects that will increase the use and development of biomass fuels.

The Manitoba Biomass Energy Support Program (MBESP) was established in 2011 to support current coal users transitioning to renewable biomass fuels. In 2014, the program was expanded to also provide support for research and development activities targeted at advancing use and processing of biomass fuels. MBESP also supports processors looking to sell biomass in new markets.

“There are renewable energy resources readily available for use as biomass energy sources,” said Manitoba Agriculture, Food, and Rural, Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn. “By increasing our capacity to make and use green energy we are reducing carbon emissions in Manitoba while promoting the growth of new industry.”

Examples of projects approved for this year include:
• Converting a coal-fired central heating system to a biomass boiler in Willow Creek Colony;
• Funding for new equipment allowing Southeast Pallet and Wood Products in Blumenort to double their annual biomass processing capacity;
• Replacing an existing coal boiler for a biomass heating system for an individual in Carman; and
• Improving on-site storage of finished biomass fuels to Spruce Products Ltd. in Swan River.

MBESP is funded in part through the Manitoba Coal Tax which requires coal users to pay an emissions tax at a per tonne rate, depending on the type of coal they use. Since the program began, it has provided about $2 million for projects that have reduced greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 10,000 tonnes annually.

Additional funds were issued as part of Growing Forward 2, a five-year, federal-provincial-territorial policy framework to advance the agriculture industry. The federal and provincial governments are investing $176 million in cost-shared programming in Manitoba, helping producers and processors become more “innovative and competitive in world markets.”

Biomass refers to biological or renewable materials from agriculture, marine or forestry resources. Common biomass fuel sources in Manitoba are flax shives, sunflower hulls and waste wood.