Manitoba Conservatives pledge 5% biodiesel fuel standard if re-elected

With just under two weeks left until the provincial election in Manitoba, the Progressive Conservative party has announced it would set the country’s highest biofuel requirements, if re-elected.

Premier Brian Pallister says his government will increase the ethanol requirement in gasoline to 10 per cent and the biodiesel requirement from two to five per cent of diesel fuel in 2020.

“Our climate and green plan is the best in Canada and now we will have the highest biofuel standards in the country,” Pallister says in a news release. “This directly benefits local canola growers and oilseed crushers who will supply the biofuels to help reduce emissions.”

According to a news release, by making this change, the province will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 375,000 tonnes over three years, the equivalent of taking 75,000 cars off the road or planting 25 million trees.

An increase to the biodiesel mandate is expected to increase market demand of biodiesel from 27 million litres currently, to 72 million litres per year, and ethanol consumption by 26 million litres to 176 million litres per year according to the PC government.

Renewable fuels are based on agricultural products, such as wheat, corn and canola. Biodiesel will be produced from canola grown in the province.

MCGA, CCGA applaud the news

Both the Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA), and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association (MCGA) call the recent announcement welcome news for its industry.

“This step would create a win-win-win scenario benefitting the environment, farmers and the economy,” says Rick White, CEO, Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA). “It offers reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, new market opportunities for farmers, and investment and jobs in Canada’s processing sector.”

According to a news release, the canola industry has been calling on policy makers across the country to take steps such as this to increase usage of renewable content in fuel.

“Canola farmers across Canada grow over 20 million tonnes of canola each year and increasing domestic demand for renewable fuels is a good way to diversify markets for Canadian canola seed,” says Delaney Ross Burtnack, Executive Director, Manitoba Canola Growers Association. “This step will position Manitoba as a national leader on issues related to the environment, as well as diversifying markets for Canadian crops.”

Right now, canola makes up about 40 per cent of the sustainable biofuel feedstock mix in Canada’s diesel supply, according to the organization. If a similar change to the one being discussed in Manitoba was introduced across Canada, 1.3 million tonnes of canola would be utilized by Canada’s domestic renewable fuel supply and at the same time, the country would see a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.

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