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Climate Change Action Plan and Renewable Natural Gas

Archived Backgrounder

Climate Change Action Plan and Renewable Natural Gas

Through the Climate Change Action Plan, Ontario will support the introduction of renewable natural gas, which will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewable natural gas is a low carbon fuel that does not add new carbon to the atmosphere. It is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and uses the same infrastructure. The province will also work with utilities to explore opportunities to inject hydrogen generated from renewable energy sources into the natural gas stream to make it better for the environment.

Methane released from sources like landfills, municipal green bin collection, agricultural residues, livestock manure, food and beverage manufacturing waste, sewage treatment plants and forestry waste can be renewed and directly substituted for conventional natural gas.

Currently, natural gas combustion and carbon-based electricity emissions from buildings represent 24 per cent of Ontario's climate change-causing air pollution. Because of Ontario's growing population and economy, greenhouse gas pollution from its buildings sector continues to rise each year ― with no end in sight. Without action in this sector, we will lose the fight to reduce carbon emissions across the economy.

Investing in natural gas

Through the Climate Change Action Plan, Ontario is investing up to $100 million of cap and trade proceeds over four years to support the implementation of a renewable content requirement for natural gas and provide support to encourage the use of cleaner, renewable natural gas in industrial, transportation and buildings sectors. The government will consult with industry on the implementation of this requirement.

Ontario also intends to invest approximately $20 million over four years to pilot solutions to reduce emissions from transportation and goods movement by promoting the use of renewable natural gas from the digestion of agricultural materials and food wastes. The province intends to deliver a cost-shared program to support the production of renewable natural gas, fuelling systems, conversion of transportation fleets to renewable natural gas fuelling resulting in quick and economical greenhouse gas pollution reductions.

Ontario will also invest up to $170 million over four years in a new Green Commercial Vehicle Program to provide incentives to eligible businesses that want to buy low-carbon commercial vehicles and technologies to reduce emissions, including electric and natural gas-powered trucks, aerodynamic devices, anti-idling devices, and electric trailer refrigeration.

Investing up to $100 million over four years, the province intends to work with the Ontario Trucking Association, Union Gas, Enbridge and others to establish a network of natural gas and low- or zero carbon fuelling stations. It will work with utilities to ensure the recovered biogas content of the fuel provided is increased over time to further lower the carbon footprint of this alternative fuel. Natural gas has a lower carbon content than diesel and also burns cleaner, producing less local air pollution.

Continuing with existing commitments

Ontario has already committed to creating a $200 million Natural Gas Access Loan and a $30 million Natural Gas Economic Development Grant to help more communities, including rural and remote areas of the province, access the necessary infrastructure to switch to a cheaper, potentially cleaner fuel source that will help residential and industry consumers reduce their energy bill.

Rural gas expansion

In addition to the actions in the Climate Change Action Plan, Ontario continues to invest in expanding natural gas access to ensure Ontario's agri-food sector, and rural communities continue to have access to modern, affordable and reliable sources of energy. This will promote increased economic growth and job creation across our province.

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