Ontario: Changes to Biogas Rules for Farms to Increase Economic Opportunity in Renewable Natural Gas Sector

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The Government of Ontario recently launched consultations to identify potential changes that would allow farmers to expand the emerging renewable natural gas market in Ontario and make the province a North American leader in the biogas sector. The consultations will focus on changes designed to reduce red tape and grow untapped economic opportunities for on-farm biogas operations.

“Today we are launching consultations designed to unlock the economic potential of the biogas industry,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “These consultations will focus on identifying potential changes that would enable the biogas sector to access new markets for renewable natural gas through red tape reduction. We want these consultations to pinpoint potential changes that could enable Ontario’s $35 million dollar-a-year biogas sector to grow by up to 50 per cent over the next five years.”

Consultations will look at opportunities to enable biogas upgrading to produce renewable natural gas on-farm, ways to streamline approvals, and requirements for off-farm and agricultural feedstocks.

These consultations could lead to potential changes that would also help Ontario food processors, providing an alternative to landfill disposal that could potentially save the sector millions of dollars while encouraging the recycling of nutrients to reduce greenhouse gases. The government will encourage the return of organic materials to agricultural land to build soil health and fertility for crop production.

These potential changes would add to the more than 80 proposed actions in the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act that would streamline requirements and eliminate unnecessary regulations for businesses in Ontario.

Public Input

Planned consultations on the proposal will focus on reducing red tape in regulations for anaerobic digesters in order to grow untapped economic opportunities for on-farm biogas operations. The consultations will also look at opportunities to enable biogas upgrading to produce renewable natural gas on-farm, ways to streamline approvals, and requirements for off-farm and agricultural feedstocks. Comments on the proposal can be directed to nmaconsultation@ontario.ca.