A new Manitoba Biomass Energy Support Program (MBESP) will provide up to $400,000 in grants to encourage coal users to switch to biomass energy products and support the expansion and growth of the biomass energy production industry, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced here today at the opening of Ag Days 2012.
“Biomass is a made-in-Manitoba fuel that can be produced from agricultural residues like straw, oat hulls and flax shives,” said Kostyshyn. “Manitoba is committed to reducing our greenhouse-gas emissions and with the assistance of programs like this, Manitoba farms will reduce their carbon footprint and continue to be part of the solution to environmental challenges.”
The minister noted this multi-year program is projected to increase to $1.5 million in support later this year based on revenues expected from the emissions tax on coal that came into effect on Jan. 1. Transitioning from fossil fuels like coal to renewable biofuels is an important part of Manitoba’s climate-change and energy strategies, he added.
There are two components to the MBESP:
- the consumer support component will provide grants of up to $12,000 to coal users to help offset the price differential between coal and biomass products during the period from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2012; and
- the capital component will provide grants of up to $50,000 to help biomass users and processors developing high-quality, renewable biomass products for use in combustion heating systems. The funds will be used for infrastructure upgrades that are required to effectively manufacture or consume biomass fuel including expansion of existing or development of new capacity.
Applicants may include farms, communities, rural business and industrial users. Grant applications must be received by March 9.
Application forms can be downloaded from the MAFRI website at www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/ or obtained at local MAFRI GO offices.
All applications are processed on a first-come-first-served basis.