Ontario Increasing Opportunity for On-Farm Renewable Natural Gas Production

Published on July 05, 2021

 

Regulation changes to provide new solutions for food and organic waste management

July 05, 2021
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

 
 

KINCARDINE — The Ontario government is changing biogas rules to create new ways for farmers to expand the emerging biogas and renewable natural gas market in the province, creating economic opportunities while maintaining the province’s strict environmental protections.

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 greenhouse gas emissions by diverting waste from the landfill through increased maximum allowable limits and new types of off-farm anaerobic digestion materials (such as food processing waste and source separated organics) and by encouraging production of renewable natural gas.

“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.

The changes announced today encourage innovation and growth while also maintaining environmental protections through additional requirements for odour control, material handling prior to land application, digester tank design and setbacks.

 
 
 

Quick Facts

  • The anaerobic digestion process produces biogas from organic matter such as manure and crop and food processing waste in an oxygen-free environment.
  • The regulation changes will enable Ontario's $35 million-a-year biogas sector to grow by up to 50 per cent over the next five years.
  • General Regulation O. Reg. 267/03 under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 establishes requirements for regulated mixed anaerobic digestion facilities. It is jointly administered by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). OMAFRA is responsible for approvals, training and certification. MECP is responsible for inspection and enforcement to ensure compliance.
  • There are approximately 40 agri-food anaerobic digesters in the province; located mostly on farms.
 
 
 

Additional Resources

Amendments to O. Reg. 267/03 under the Nutrient Management Act

Nutrient Management Act information

Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan

Canadian Biogas Association