Biogas and renewable natural gas (RNG) are proven climate solutions, with Canadian projects already preventing more than 8 Mt CO2e of GHG emissions from reaching the atmosphere every year. But much more can be done to capitalize on the climate benefits of this form of renewable energy.
Biogas is created when organic matter, such as manure or food waste, breaks down in an oxygen-free environment to create a renewable source of methane. Biogas can be upgraded to RNG, which can be carbon negative and interchangeable with conventional natural gas for use in industry, transportation, or injected directly into the natural gas grid.
A recent study by CBA and Navius, Hitting Canada’s Climate Targets with Biogas & RNG, found that there’s potential for this source of bioenergy to make substantial contributions to Canada’s climate targets. However, Canada is currently only harnessing 13 per cent of its biogas resources.
So how can Canada’s biogas and RNG industry reach its fullest potential? The study has shown that a renewable gas mandate and credits for methane abatement from landfills and agriculture can play a significant role in growing the biogas and RNG industry and achieve deep GHG reductions.
While more can be done to provide stronger signals to the industry, there are already developing policies in Canada at the federal and provincial levels that are providing a patchwork of reliable end markets for biogas and RNG. Renewable gas regulations in British Columbia and Quebec target 15 per cent and 10 per cent renewable gas in the natural gas grids by 2030, respectively. There are offset systems federally and provincially, both published and in the draft, that target methane emissions from landfill and agriculture.