CRFA: Canada on target to meet 2010 ethanol mandate

By Hope Deutscher | March 05, 2009
Web exclusive posted April 14, 2009, at 1:15 p.m. CST

Canada currently has 1.4 billion liters in ethanol production capacity, with another 600 million liters under construction - all adding up to the 2 billion liters of ethanol production required to meet the federal government's five-percent renewable fuels standard (RFS) by 2010.

Canada currently has 15 operating plants with a combined total capacity of approximately 1.4 billion liters. Two of those facilities are planning to double their capacity and another four projects are proposed. When those projects are completed, the country should have just over 2 billion liters of ethanol production capacity. (Click here to see the CRFA Ethanol Production List.)

"We haven't seen a situation like in the United States where there have been problems with some of the companies," said Robin Speer, vice president of public affairs for Canadian Renewable Fuels Association. "The industry in Canada has grown a lot slower and it's obviously learned lessons from the U.S. as well, which have been valuable, so our production capacity continues to expand here heading towards that RFS. "

Speer admitted there are economic challenges in Canada - credit markets have tightened and in the oil and gas sector projects have been put on hold. The renewable fuels industry is growingslowly, but at a good pace, he said.

"Our industry is growing on a more measured progress in terms of how we have been expanding and how we've gone about it," Speer added. "There are obviously fewer plants that exist here and that have been built moving towards that mandate of about 2 billion liters in 2010. We just haven't seen those problems that have occurred in the U.S."

Several of the provinces have also instituted RFS mandates. The Ontario government has a provincial mandate of five percent renewable fuels, while in Manitoba there is an 8.5 percent ethanol mandate and Saskatchewan has a 7.5 percent ethanol mandate.

"Canada has taken its own measures moving forward with an RFS, as well as a domestic producer payment program which is a little bit different than the one in the U.S. but those programs are up and running and the regulations for the RFS are being created right now, moving towards that 2010 mandate," Speer said. "I think that our industry has grown slowly and surely and we're seeing the benefits of that. All of the companies are continuing to produce, unlike [in the United States].