Ontario and B.C. Governments Show Commitment to Expansion of Renewable Natural Gas Generation

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Ontario

The Ontario government recently announced new rules related to biogas that are designed to create new ways for farmers to expand the emerging biogas and renewable natural gas (RNG) market in the province, creating economic opportunities while maintaining the province’s strict environmental protections.

There are approximately 40 agri-food anaerobic digesters in the province; located mostly on farms.  The regulation changes will enable new on-farm biogas systems and expansion of existing systems to be approved more easily and at a lower cost to help ensure that Ontario continues to be a biogas sector leader in Canada. The changes will also help reduce GHG emissions by diverting waste from landfills and by encouraging production of RNG. The regulation changes will enable Ontario’s $35 million-a-year biogas sector to grow by up to 50 percent over the next five years.

“By reducing regulatory burden for on-farm anaerobic digesters, we can provide economic solutions to divert more valuable food and organic waste from landfills, while maintaining environmental protections by encouraging the recycling of nutrients and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We’re saving farm businesses time and money to allow them to grow untapped economic opportunities and take advantage of the emerging renewable natural gas market.”

Using farm waste to generate renewable natural gas is win-win for farmers and the environment: not only does it give farmers the opportunity to use materials that would otherwise go to waste, they are also able to reduce their carbon footprint,” said David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “Importantly, these changes include new requirements to better safeguard the environment and human health – helping to ensure that economic growth doesn’t come at the expense of environmental health.”

“StormFisher and the Ontario Government share a vision of an Ontario with less waste going to landfills, more clean energy being created here at home, and more jobs and investment in rural Ontario. The changes announced today regarding on-farm anaerobic digestion will help with all of these goals,” said Brandon Moffatt, Vice President of Development, StormFisher. “The agricultural industry plays a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The conversion of manure and other agricultural materials to renewable natural gas is a great step forward that will lead to significant economic development in rural Ontario and will support our farmers in diversifying their revenues.”

Changes to regulations under the Nutrient Management Act will create more opportunities for farmers to treat on-farm materials as well as other types of off-farm food and organic waste materials in on-farm regulated mixed anaerobic digestion facilities. This will enable an increase in on-farm production of biogas to generate renewable natural gas and will provide Ontario farmers with a new source of on-farm income.

British Columbia

British Columbia recently amended the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation (GGRR) to increase the production and use of renewable gas, as well as green and waste hydrogen in the province. BC is the first province in Canada to make these changes allowing for the increased production of renewable gas. The GGRR allows utilities like FortisBC and Pacific Northern Gas to make time-limited investments, within spending and volumetric caps, to stimulate the domestic market for renewable gases and reduce GHG emissions.

“A key part of our CleanBC strategy is increasing the use of hydrogen and other renewable gases in place of fossil fuels in vehicles, buildings and industry,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “The changes we’ve made to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation will provide natural gas utilities with more flexibility, stimulate investments in renewable energy and accelerate growth of hydrogen and renewable gas supply in their systems, while keeping rates affordable for their customers.”

“Changes to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation are important to accelerate the growth of B.C.’s renewable gas supply,” said Roger Dall’Antonia, president and CEO, FortisBC. “By increasing the renewable gas cap and expanding the regulation to include other renewable gases, such as hydrogen, we’re entering an exciting new phase of renewable energy development that will accelerate the transformation of our natural gas infrastructure into a delivery system for carbon-neutral energy.”

The amendment to the GGRR will enable utilities to increase the amount of RNG, green and waste hydrogen, and other renewable energy they can acquire and make available to customers, and help the province to achieve its CleanBC objectives, which commit to a 15% renewable gas content in the natural gas system by 2030.