PRESS RELEASE: Canada’s natural gas utilities target for renewable natural gas content

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Ottawa – May 25, 2016 – The natural gas delivered to Canadian homes, transportation markets, businesses, and industry will soon include more renewable energy in it thanks to a new national renewable natural gas (RNG) target announced today by the Canadian Gas Association.

Canada’s natural gas utilities have set a target of 5 per cent RNG-blended natural gas in the pipeline distribution system by 2025 and 10 per cent by 2030.  Nationally, the increased RNG content would result in 14 megatonnes (MT) of greenhouse gas emission reductions per year by 2030, equivalent to removing 3 million passenger cars from the road.

RNG, a 100 per cent renewable energy source, is natural gas currently produced from organic waste from farms, forests, landfills, and water treatment plants.  The gas is captured, cleaned, and blended into natural gas distribution pipelines and used in the same way as traditionally delivered natural gas by homes, businesses, transportation fleets, and industry.  There are no special upgrades to furnaces, water heaters and other equipment needed to use RNG. This is one example of how natural gas utilities and the natural gas distribution system have an important role in Canada’s innovative energy delivery system of the future.
“Canada’s natural gas delivery industry recognizes that increasing RNG content in the natural gas delivered to Canadian customers is a pathway towards meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” said Timothy M. Egan, President and CEO of the Canadian Gas Association. “We look forward to continuing discussions with government, RNG technology companies and other stakeholders to ensure that they appreciate that the gas system is a mechanism for renewable energy delivery – in fact it is often the most efficient and cost-effective means to deliver renewables,” said Egan.

In 2013, Canadian natural gas utilities leveraged the expertise of Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY who developed with industry the RNG Technology Roadmap for Canada.  The Roadmap has been an instrumental tool in assisting industry to better understand the market and technology needs required for Canada to realize its RNG potential.

RNG can be produced, cleaned and injected into the natural gas distribution system at competitive costs compared to other renewable energy options. RNG costs between $10-25 per gigajoule (GJ) or 4-9 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) while recent renewable electricity contracts for utility scale solar and wind projects have been signed for $19 and $44/GJ or 7-16 cents/kWh. An added benefit is that RNG does not face issues of intermittency that other renewable energy sources face, and it can be easily stored in existing gas infrastructure, offering reliability and flexibility.

In British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, natural gas distribution utilities are currently blending RNG into their gas pipeline systems.  By the end of 2017, 11 RNG projects in Canada will be online producing enough renewable fuel to meet the energy needs of 51,000 homes or supplying 137 million liters of renewable fuel for transportation markets.

A backgrounder and more information on RNG is available on the CGA’s website.

About CGA

The Canadian Gas Association (CGA) is the voice of Canada’s natural gas distribution industry and its members are distribution companies, transmission companies, equipment manufacturers and other service providers.  Natural gas has a central place in Canada’s energy mix meeting over 30 per cent of the country’s energy needs.  Today over 6.6 million customers representing well over 20 million Canadians rely on natural gas for heat and power in homes, apartments, buildings, businesses, hospitals and schools.

 

Quotes:

“The Government congratulates Canada’s natural gas utilities for leading by example with their new renewable natural gas targets,” said the Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister ofNatural Resources. “Finding new ways to develop renewable energy will help Canadatransition to a low-carbon economy, creating opportunities for jobs and helping to achieve our climate change objectives.”

“Methane capture from the anaerobic digestion of organic material that is generated from farms, food wastes (both municipal and commercial), landfills, and waste water treatment plants for conversion into biogas (a premium form of renewable natural gas) is a responsible and cost-effective path to help Canada achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. The Canadian Biogas Association supports CGA’s targets and the biogas industry which is comprised of farmers, municipalities, the waste management sector, and the private sector are poised for its development,” said Kevin Matthews, Chair, Canadian Biogas Association.

“Pollution Probe supports the national renewable natural gas (RNG) targets announced by the Canadian Gas Association. The inclusion of RNG in Canada’s natural gas distribution network is an innovative and commendable step towards a more sustainable energy system in Canada, and represents an important contribution to reducing national greenhouse gas emissions,” said Steve McCauley, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Pollution Probe.  “Further, RNG can help reduce emissions in Canada’s transportation sector, particularly in commercial transportation, which is one of the fastest growing areas of GHG emissions,” said McCauley

“Communities account for 60% of energy use and over half of all greenhouse gas emissions inCanada,” said Brent Gilmour, Executive Director of QUEST. “Smart Energy Communities integrate renewable energy sources, such as RNG, into conventional energy distribution networks, such as the natural gas grid, and are essential for enabling federal, provincial, territorial and local governments to achieve their energy and GHG targets,” said Gilmour.

“On its own natural gas is a clean and affordable transportation fuel but the addition of RNG turbocharges the emissions benefits. Canada’s natural gas distributors have taken a leadership role in announcing national targets for RNG that will make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Unlike other biofuels blends, RNG is identical to natural gas and has the same performance characteristics as conventional natural gas,” said Bruce Winchester, Executive Director of the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance.

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Pollution Probe

Pollution Probe is a national, non-profit organization that exists to improve the health and well-being of Canadians by advancing policy that achieves positive, tangible environmental change.

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