P.E.I. gov’t sets up biofuel review panel

An interdepartmental committee of the Prince Edward Island government will review proposals to produce farmed fuels in the province.

The interdepartmental biofuels committee (IDBC), launched Tuesday, will be led by the provincial ag department and will include representation from the innovation, fisheries, transportation, environment, environment, energy and forestry and treasury departments.

Any biofuel project proposals that may come to government attention from other points of entry (say, though provincial agriculture, energy or economic development services) are to be referred to IBDC for assessment.

The committee will review proposed biofuel projects on their social impact, environmental sustainability, business viability and ability to generate agricultural or forestry business opportunities, the province said.

The IDBC won’t provide funding for such proposals or pilot projects, but will have a small budget to hire expert advice for some of those. Anyone proposing a business plan or pilot for a biofuel project will be expected to seek financial support from the private sector or other government sources.

But part of the IDBC’s role will be to consider the suitability of pilot projects that would see technologies using bio-energy used on a trial basis by government itself, the province said.

Biofuels are “an area that could create opportunity for business and farmers and one that holds the promise of delivering an Island-based fuel source,” Ag Minister Neil LeClair said in a release Tuesday. “But it’s a field that is still developing.

“By creating the interdepartmental biofuels committee, government now has a group that can consider these bioenergy proposals from several standpoints,” he said. “Proponents who want to approach government about a biofuel project should benefit from having a single body in place to accept and review proposals.”

The IDBC was formed on a recommendation from the final report of the provincial Environmental and Renewable Industries Committee (ERIC) in March.

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