The Government of Ontario will launch 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.
- The anaerobic digestion process produces biogas by decomposing organic waste, such as manure and crop and food processing waste.
- Biogas systems can be used to generate renewable natural gas (RNG), electricity or heat and can provide additional options for management of manure and reducing pathogens.
- There are over 40 agri-food anaerobic digesters in the province, most located on farms.
By reducing regulatory burden for on-farm anaerobic digesters to process food and organic waste, Ontario would provide solutions to some of the challenges outlined in the Made in Ontario Environment Plan.
- General Regulation O.Reg. 267/03 under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 S.O. c.4 (Nutrient Management Regulation) establishes requirements for regulated mixed anaerobic digestion facilities.