Ontario has introduced amendments to regulations under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 that will enable farmers to produce biogas for the renewable natural gas (RNG) market. The regulations were first proposed in January, 2020 by the Ministries of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Environment, Conservation and Parks to assist farmers in recycling food and organic waste with anerobic digesters.
The new regulations will:
- clarify design and construction requirements to support RNG production while seeking to maintain environmental protections for neighbours and local communities.
- provide greater flexibility in the amount and type of on- and off-farm anaerobic digestion materials permitted for use in regulated mixed anaerobic digestion facilities to make the generation of RNG more effective, efficient, and economical for farmers.
- simplify operational requirements regarding the sampling and analysis of received materials to reduce costs and enhance operational flexibility for farmers.
The Government of Ontario expects the changes to:
- increase opportunities for management of food and organic waste in the circular food economy;
- increase production of RNG in Ontario; and
- increase economic development opportunities in the agri-food sector.
The BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation earlier this month announced amendments to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation (GGRR) to support the production and use of RNG and green and waste hydrogen. The GGRR allows utilities to make time-limited investments, with volumetric and expenditure caps, to support RNG development and procurement. The amendments will increase the current caps for investments in RNG and expand the scope of the GGRR to include other renewable gases, such as hydrogen. BC estimates that increased use of RNG could reduce GHG emissions by up to 450,000 tonnes per year. The amendments will also increase the amount of RNG, green and waste hydrogen, and other renewable energy that utilities can acquire for customers, supporting provincial commitments for a 15% renewable gas content by 2030.
Changes to the GGRR include:
- increasing the amount of renewable gas utilities can acquire and supply from 5% to 15% of their total annual supply of natural gas;
- broadening the methods by which utilities can obtain hydrogen, RNG and other renewable gases to include producing it or upgrading it themselves for injection into the pipeline, paying a third party to produce it or upgrade it for pipeline injection, or purchasing hydrogen, synthesis gas, or lignin to displace the use of natural gas at customers’ facilities;
- allowing the current price cap of $30 per gigajoule that utilities can pay to acquire any of these fuels to increase with inflation; and
- enabling utilities to acquire and supply green and waste hydrogen, synthesis gas, and lignin.