Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has announced that the Canadian government will provide up to C$1.5 billion (US$1.43 billion) ) in the form of incentives over nine years to producers of renewable alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel.

The program, titled Canada’s ecoENERGY for Biofuels, is intended to dramatically boost the country’s production of biofuels.

Last December, the Canadian government announced a new regulation requiring a 5% average renewable content in gasoline by 2010. At that time, the government also signaled its intention to develop a similar requirement of 2% renewable content for diesel and heating oil by 2012. Close to three billion liters of renewable fuels will be needed annually to meet the requirements of the new regulations.

“With the transportation sector accounting for more than a quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas output, increasing the renewable content in our fuel is going to put a real dent in emissions,” said Prime Minister Harper.