Canadian Biogas and RNG Industry: Impactful Moment

By | 2024-04-02

The interest in biogas and RNG industry is growing. Despite slow uptake at the federal level, the Canadian biogas and RNG space has been developing at a steady rate, and is gradually accelerating. Development has been driven primarily by the provinces, and more specifically within British Columbia, Ontario, and Québec, which each boast 10 operational sites.

British Columbia was an early supporter of the technology, and its main gas utility, FortisBC, has a long-established program available to consumers. The BC Low Carbon Fuel Standard has added an additional level of financial viability for projects, and the supply of RNG within the province is expected to increase to 9.5 PJ by 2030.

The growth of the Ontario market has persevered despite barriers at the regulatory level, a testament to the potential and interest within the province. The industry practice of mass balancing has allowed FortisBC and Énergir to purchase gas produced within Ontario and offset their overall emissions. The lack of regulatory development has not deterred the province’s own utility, Enbridge, from pursuing what is within its authority. Enbridge continues to support positive regulatory development within the province, and has partnered with American companies for the development of projects within the US.

Québec is the province with the highest ambitions. The Québec government and the main gas utility, Énergir, have put forward aggressive plans for increasing supply within the province. These plans include the province legislating a target of 10% RNG within the grid by 2030, and Énergir’s procurement cap of CAD 45/GJ.

While slow on the uptake, other Canadian provinces have begun forward movements. In 2023, the province of Manitoba identified RNG as a low-carbon technology for meeting provincial goals, and RNG was acknowledged within Manitoba Hydro’s 2023 Integrated Research Plan as a favorable option for reducing the carbon intensity of their grid. In the Maritimes, the province of New Brunswick has begun investigating the role of RNG in meeting its own 2025 and 2035 emissions targets.

The sizable potential of the biogas and RNG industry in Canada, while recognized early by few, has begun to be seen by all provinces for the potential it has for regional decarbonization. Many pilots are attempting to unlock the potential of woody biomass, which if successful will catapult Canadian growth further forward.

We are at an impactful moment for industry growth. Projects must put their best foot forward and demonstrate the ability of the technology to meet its promises.