Biofuel plant granted extension

A company proposing a $400-million biofuels plant near Innisfail has been given an extension to its subdivision approval by Red Deer County.

A company proposing a $400-million biofuels plant near Innisfail has been given an extension to its subdivision approval by Red Deer County.

Subdivision of a 406-acre site for the ethanol, biodiesel and canola crush facility was originally approved in June 2007. Normally, an applicant has one year to ensure conditions are met and the subdivision is endorsed.

However, officials with Alberta Ethanol and Biodiesel GP Ltd. requested an extension because they are still trying to line up financing for the project. The company is awaiting a response to its an application under the federal ecoEnergy for Biofuels program. Federal funding is essential for the Innisfail project to proceed.

Council granted an extension until June 17, 2010.

Announced in 2006, the Alberta Ethanol and Biodiesel GP Ltd. venture contemplates the development of a plant capable of producing 379 million litres each of ethanol and biodiesel annually.

The partners behind Alberta Ethanol and Biodiesel are Dominion Energy Services LLC, and private equity heavyweights The Carlyle Group and Riverstone Holdings LLC.

To date, approvals from Alberta Environment and the Energy Resources Conservation Board have been obtained. More than $3 million has been invested in the project, including engineering work, say company officials.

The plant would be developed in phases. The first, which would take about 18 months to complete, would consist of a canola crush facility and an ethanol plant — each with an annual output of 189 million litres.

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