Ontario is leading the fight against climate change by investing up to $100 million in cap and trade proceeds over four years to support the introduction of renewable natural gas.
Through the Climate Change Action Plan, which will be released this spring, Ontario will encourage the use of cleaner, renewable natural gas in industrial, transportation, and buildings sectors, the province’s biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The province’s investment will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help offset the cost to consumers of introducing renewable natural gas.
Glen R. Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, commented, “Natural gas is a vital part of Ontario’s energy supply today and in the future. These investments are about encouraging the production of clean, renewable natural gas that emits less greenhouse gas pollution, fosters greater innovation, supports our province’s rapidly growing world-renowned clean tech sector and creates more clean tech jobs.”
Methane that is released from sources such as landfills, municipal green bin collection, agricultural residues, livestock manure, food and beverage manufacturing waste, sewage treatment plants, and forestry waste can be recovered, cleaned, and can be directly substituted for conventional natural gas. Renewable natural gas is a low-carbon fuel that does not add new carbon to the atmosphere. It is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and uses the same infrastructure.
Rob Cook, CEO of Ontario Waste Management Association, noted, “The waste management sector is one of the best kept secrets in driving down emissions by utilizing our discarded resources. The government’s announcement to support renewable natural gas over the next four years is another important step forward in leveraging our sector to tackle climate change and move towards a circular economy.”
Natural gas, increasingly sourced from cleaner supplies, will continue to play a critical role in Ontario’s energy supply mix for transportation and heating buildings. It is not being banned. Ontario committed to creating a $200 million Natural Gas Access Loan and a $30 million Natural Gas Economic Development Grant to help more communities that previously lacked the necessary infrastructure to switch to a cheaper, cleaner fuel source that will help residential and industry consumers reduce their energy bill.
Ontario is well-placed to be a leader in the next generation of clean technology solutions. In just 10 years, the province has become a North American leader in developing, using, and manufacturing clean energy. Ontario’s environmental and clean technology sector has 3,000 firms, employs 65,000 people, and is worth an estimated $8 billion in annual revenues and $1 billion in export earnings.
Malini Giridhar, Vice President Business Development, Enbridge, commented “Introducing renewable natural gas into the natural gas system is one of several sensible ways to meet Ontario’s carbon reduction targets, and it leverages our low-cost and reliable natural gas infrastructure to deliver low-carbon energy for building heat and other uses well beyond 2030.”
Fighting climate change is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
The province will also work with utilities to explore opportunities to inject hydrogen generated from renewable energy sources into the natural gas stream to further green it.
Strong action is needed to help reduce greenhouse gas pollution to meet Ontario’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. Ontario’s targets are ambitious yet achievable, and in line with global objectives, with reductions from 1990 emission levels of 15 per cent in 2020, 37 per cent in 2030, and 80 per cent in 2050.
On May 18, 2016, Ontario passed landmark climate change legislation that ensures the province is accountable for responsibly and transparently investing proceeds from the cap and trade program into actions that reduce greenhouse gas pollution and also create jobs and help people and businesses shift to a low-carbon economy.