Ambitious Policies Position Canadian Biofuels for Growth

FROM THE MARCH ISSUE: Jim Grey, of Renewable Fuels Canada, discusses Canada's biofuels success and what's coming.
By Jim Grey | February 13, 2018

The story of the Canadian biofuels sector is remarkable. From its infancy, the industry has continued to drive Canada’s circular economy, supporting the agricultural sector while continually creating environmentally sustainable economic growth in communities across the country. Most important, the contributions of the biofuels sector have meant achieving substantial reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector.

In Canada, part of the biofuel industry’s success, and our position today, can be attributed to successive governments, on the national and provincial levels, recognizing the economic and environmental value of nurturing a domestic biofuels industry.

This confidence and commitment has built an industry in Canada that generates $3.5 billion worth of annual economic activity and has created more than 14,000 jobs. Projected ethanol production for 2016 was 1.7 billion liters, with an estimated sales value of $1.1 billion. To support this production, 4.2 million metric tons, or $800 million worth of feedstock, were purchased, providing a significant and predictable revenue stream to Canadian farmers. As byproducts of ethanol production, $260 million of distillers grains were sold.

Today, these same governments are developing a suite of policy mechanisms that will directly impact the renewable fuels sector for the next decade and beyond. With this process underway, Canada’s ethanol and biodiesel producers expect to continue delivering good news in 2018.

In December, the Canadian Federal government announced the details of its national Clean Fuel Standard, which aims to eliminate 30 megatons of GHG emissions annually by 2030. This targeted reduction will include the transportation sector, creating a significant opportunity for biofuels.

The Federal CFS also comes at a time when Canada’s provinces have been demonstrating impressive leadership on driving increased use of biofuels. Canada’s five most populous provinces—Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba—have embraced or are in the midst of exploring progressive approaches to promoting enhanced use of clean fuels, either through increasing biofuel mandates or new low carbon fuel policies. Ontario, Canada’s largest province, will increase ethanol content in gasoline from 5 to 10 percent, which is expected to increase the amount of Ontario corn going into ethanol production.

There is still work to be done, but with a combination of a strong domestic industry and ambitious GHG reduction targets being planned across the country, Canada’s ethanol industry is poised for growth in 2018 and beyond.


Author: Jim Grey
Chair, Renewable Industries Canada
CEO, IGPC Ethanol Inc. 519.765.2575