Manitoba biomass program now offers cash incentives

By Luke Geiver | January 18, 2012

The Manitoba, Canada, Biomass Energy Support Program (MBESP) has officially been implemented, providing coal users in Manitoba grants up to $400,000 to finance the switch from coal to biomass energy.

Biomass producers are also eligible for funding through the MBESP program. Coal producers can apply either to offset the cost of biomass products, or to help generate biomass heating alternatives. Eligible applicants include those associated with biomass via farms, communities, rural businesses or industrial users, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) division of the Manitoba government.

Ron Kostyshyn, minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives called biomass such as straw, oat hulls or flax shives a “made-in-Manitoba fuel.” Kostyshyn said the province is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, adding that Manitoba farms producing agricultural biomass have the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint and be part of the environmental solution.

Manitoba also instituted a coal emissions tax his month, requiring coal users will purchase more than one ton of coal in 2012 to pay a tax in an amount determined by the grade of coal purchased. The coal user has until March 1, 2013 to pay the tax, but under the MBESP, coal users can receive up to $12,000 to offset the cost differential between coal and biomass feedstocks. The $12,000 grant is available until March 31. A grant of $50,000 is also available to both biomass users and processors who develop biomass-based heating options. The grant will be used for infrastructure upgrades necessary to manufacture or consume such biomass products, according to the MAFRI.

All biomass fuels are exempt from Manitoba sales tax, excluding charcoal. The grant incentive program offered by MBESP will not include incentives for biomass from peat or wood from standing forests. But agricultural residue, agricultural process waste, compacted biomass and pellets, forestry residue such as hog fuel, forestry operations residue or salvage timber, and purpose grown biomass such as switchgrass or poplar crops will all be eligible for the incentives.

Grant applications must be submitted by March 9 and can be found here: 

The grants are provided on a first-come, first-served basis.