As we prepare for The World Biogas Summit’s panel session North America – the huge potential of AD in the worlds’ second biggest energy market, on 7th October, we speak to co-chair Jennifer Green, Executive Director, Canadian Biogas Association, about how Canada can achieve net zero with biogas.
What role do you see biogas having in a Net Zero future?
Biogas can be a major solution for achieving a Net Zero future for Canada and it can be achieved in a number of ways. First by reducing some of the 13% of Canada’s GHG emissions that come from our buildings, which are heated with natural gas. Blending just 5% renewable gas into our natural gas networks could lead to 14 million tonnes of GHG reductions. Parts of Canada have biogas feedstocks that could support much more renewable gas. Biogas can also reduce transportation emissions, which account for 24% of Canada’s total. More than a third of these transportation emissions originate from heavy duty trucks, where commercially proven and affordable RNG technology is increasingly being adopted. Finally, biogas can provide net-zero power generation, helping Canada meet its goal of 90% clean electricity and achieving one of the cleanest power grids in the world. Meanwhile, all of these emission reduction opportunities produce important co-benefits: reliable energy when and where Canadians need it; economic development opportunities in both rural and urban regions; and the transformation of waste into a valuable circular economy resource.
What are the largest obstacles Canada needs to overcome in order for the biogas industry to reach its full potential?
Financing and costs, both capital and operating costs, compared to conventional fossil fuel industries is a universal hurdle to facility development. The availability of capital investment and the economic feasibility of a project are often related to energy policy, regulation and related markets. The lack of economic value assigned to environmental benefits and non-energy products of anaerobic digestion does not allow biogas operators to achieve the full economic potential of their operation.
Government policies and programs are essential to overcoming these obstacles by establishing markets to provide stability and drive investment. Regions where supportive government policy and programs are present, such as the Feed-in-Tariff program for renewable electricity in Ontario that ran from 2009-2018, the FortisBC Renewable Natural Gas program in British Columbia and RNG Program offered by Énergir in Quebec, have seen the resulting build-out of biogas facilities. This supports investment and infrastructure to better collect and divert organic waste and encourages value creation while driving deep GHG reductions.
The CBA recommends the Canadian federal government invest in Canada’s fast-growing clean energy and cleantech sectors and support clean energy by expanding existing initiatives and programs including the federal Clean Fuel Standard which is a modern, flexible, performance-based approach that would incent the use of a broad range of lower-carbon fuels.
Hear more from Jennifer at 4.00pm (BST) on 7th October at the online World Biogas Summit. Jennifer will co-chair the panel session along with Patrick Serfass, Executive Director, American Biogas Council. Speakers will include Chris Voell, Head of Waste, Recycling and Biogas Advisory, TCNA, and Brad Douville, President and CEO, Greenlane Biogas.