According to Canadian media, the Ontario provincial government announced new regulations aimed at encouraging the use of renewable natural gas (RNG). Particularly, the introduced changes would boost the market of RNG in farming and agriculture.
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Accordingly, the new provincial rules will introduce ways for farmers to expand emerging biogas and RNG in farming and agriculture initiatives. Besides, the plan will aim to create economic opportunities while maintaining the province’s strict environmental protections.
Opportunities with this RNG in farming and agriculture initiative
As the Ontario government noted in a media release, the expansion of biogas or RNG in farming systems will have easier approval. Additionally, the province will address this transformation at a lower cost.
Similarly, the changes will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by diverting waste from landfills; particularly, through increased maximum allowable limits. Also, new types of off-farm anaerobic digestion materials will help in this process. For instance, some materials inherent to RNG in farming will be food processing waste and source-separated organics.
In this sense, Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, commented in a media release; “By reducing regulatory burden for on-farm anaerobic digesters, we can provide economical solutions. Particularly, to divert more valuable food and organic waste from landfills, while maintaining environmental protections.”
Moreover, the Minister noted this would also be possible “by encouraging recycling nutrients and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” Indeed, “we’re saving farm businesses time and money to allow them to grow untapped economic opportunities in the RNG in farming market.”
Besides, she concluded, those farmers will “take advantage of the emerging renewable natural gas market.”
Reception and potentialities
Similarly, David Piccini, Minister of the environment, conservation, and parks, said using farm waste to generate renewable natural gas is a win-win situation. Particularly for farmers and the environment, this opportunity will help them use materials that would otherwise go to waste.
“Importantly, these changes include new requirements to safeguard the environment and human health better; thus, helping to ensure that economic growth doesn’t come at the expense of environmental health,” he said.
Accordingly, these changes to regulations -which fall under the Nutrient Management Act- will create more opportunities for farmers to treat on-farm materials. They will also be able to treat other types of off-farm food and organic waste materials; this, in on-farm regulated mixed anaerobic digestion facilities.
Finally, this will enable an increase in on-farm production of biogas to generate RNG in farming activities. Further, it will provide Ontario farmers with a new source of on-farm income.
Indeed, the changes encourage innovation and growth while also maintaining environmental protections; thus, the province will set additional requirements for odor control, material handling before land application, digester tank design, and setbacks.