This article was published by the Canada Energy Regulator on April 19, 2023.
Renewable natural gas or biomethane (RNG) production in Canada began in 2003 when the Trans Québec & Maritimes (TQM) Pipeline started receiving RNG captured from a landfill located near Sainte-Geneviève-de-Berthier, Quebec. Currently, the RNG on Trans Québec & Maritimes is mainly destined for export to the United States, but there are many more projects across the country that deliver RNG to natural gas distribution networks for local markets. The number of projects operating in Canada are expected to more than double between 2021 and 2025. Policy changes, like provincial mandates, and opt-in programs are contributing to the increase in new projects. The 18 new RNG projects built after 2021 will increase Canada’s RNG capacity from 7.2 petajoules (PJ) in 2021 to 17.1 PJ in 2025.(1)
Provincial mandates contribute to an increase in RNG projects
In 2019, Quebec became the first province to mandate the inclusion of RNG in natural gas distribution. This regulation requires distributors to blend 1 per cent RNG by 2020 and a minimum of 5 per cent by 2025.(2) As part of the CleanBC strategy, British Columbia also committed to a minimum requirement of 15 per cent renewable content in the natural gas stream by 2030.(3) New Brunswick is also exploring a minimum portion of RNG and/or hydrogen in the provincial natural gas supply.(4)
Opt-in programs allow consumers to help fund RNG projects
Distribution companies have also created their own opt-in programs, giving customers the choice to pay a little more for their natural gas in order to fund RNG projects, like FortisBC in British Columbia and Enbridge Gas Inc in Ontario. Provincial mandates and opt-in programs have contributed to advancing new projects across the country.
Table 1 includes the 22 existing (as of 2022) and 17 planned, or under construction, projects that will process biogas into RNG to be injected into natural gas distribution systems. This data only includes specific project announcements with planned in-service dates. Additional projects in various stages of development not included here because these details have not been released publicly yet.
Table 1: 39 Current and Planned RNG Projects in Canada
|Project or Facility Name||Province||In-Service Date||Type||Stated Capacity (Petajoules/Year)||Sources|
|Les Entreprises Berthier inc. (EBI) Sainte-Geneviève-de-Berthier landfill||QC||2003||Landfill||1.38||EBI, CER [Document C18356-1]|
|Les Entreprises Berthier inc. (EBI) Rive Nord||QC||2003||Landfill||1.21||Canadian Gas Association|
|Salmon Arm Landfill||BC||2011||Landfill||0.02||Closing the Loop, Columbia Shuswap Regional District, Canadian Gas Association|
|Fraser Valley Biogas/Evergen Infrastructure Corp. (Abbotsford)||BC||2011||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.08||EverGen, Canadian Biomass News|
|Hamilton Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant||ON||2011||Wastewater||0.06||Enbridge, TVO, Canadian Gas Association|
|Glenmore Landfill (Kelowna)||BC||2014||Landfill||0.06||FortisBC, FortisBC|
|Seabreeze Dairy Farm (Delta)||BC||2014||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.04||DMT|
|VisionEnviro Progressive’s Lachenaie landfill||QC||2015||Landfill||2.94||Waste Today, Canadian Gas Association|
|Surrey Biofuel Facility||BC||2018||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.12||City of Surrey|
|Saint-Hyacinthe Biomethanation||QC||2018||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.49||NGV Global News, CER, Forbes|
|StormFisher – London Biogas Facility||ON||2020||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.06||Bioenergy Insight|
|Bioenergy Insight||AB||2021||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.28||Canadian Biomass News, Lethbridge Biogas, Skyline Group of Companies|
|Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant (Richmond)||BC||2021||Wastewater||0.06||Environmental Science and Engineering Magazine, BOE Report|
|Coop Agri-Énergie Warwick||QC||2021||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.09||Coop Agri-Énergie Warwick, CER, la Voix de L’Est|
|ADM-Agri-Industries Company Candiac Project||QC||2021||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.19||Québec Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles|
|Dufferin Organics Processing Facility (Toronto)||ON||2021||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.13||City of Toronto, GHD, Biomass Magazine|
|Stanton Farms/Faromor CNG Corp. (Stratford)||ON||2022||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.11||Farmers Forum|
|StormFisher – London Biogas Facility – Expansion||ON||2022||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.17||Bioenergy Insight, Canadian Biomass|
|Centre de biométhanisation de l’agglomération de Québec||QC||2022||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.38||The Montreal Journal, CER|
|Centre de traitement de la biomasse de la Montérégie (Saint-Pie)||QC||2022||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.15||Centre de traitement de la biomasse de la Montérégie, Saint-Hyacinthe News, CER|
|Niagara Falls Renewable Natural Gas Plant||ON||2022||Landfill||0.77||Enbridge, GHD|
|Two Hills RNG Facility (Vegreville)||AB||2022||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.23||ATCO|
|Suez Montréal East Biomethanation Plant (Montreal)||QC||2023||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.15||Montreal Gazette, Montreal Gazette|
|City of Vancouver Landfill (Delta)||BC||2023||Landfill||0.06||Natural Gas Innovation Fund|
|Fraser Valley Biogas/Evergen Infrastructure Corp. (Abbotsford) -Expansion||BC||2023||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.08||EverGen, Canadian Biomass|
|Carbonaxion GNR Neuville||QC||2023||Landfill||0.07||Carbonaxion, PyroGenesis|
|WAGA -Saint-Étienne-des-Grès||QC||2023||Landfill||0.47||Biomass Magazine|
|Brome – WAGA (Cowansville)||QC||2023||Landfill||0.11||Waste 360, Energy Capital Magazine|
|SEMECS Varennes Anaerobic Digestion Project||QC||2023||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.16||Clean 50, Montreal Gazette, Bioenergy Insight|
|Ridge Landfill Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) Project||ON||2023||Landfill||1.59||Enbridge|
|REN Energy International Corp. (Fruitvale)||BC||2023||Wood Waste||1.20||REN Energy, Woodworking Network|
|Disco Road Organics Processing Facility (Toronto)||ON||2024||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.17||City of Toronto, City of Toronto|
|High River RNG Facility||AB||2024||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.53||Daily Oil Bulletin, Tidewater Renewables Ltd.|
|Hartland Landfill (Victoria BC)||BC||2024||Landfill||0.37||Capital Regional District, CTV News, Waga Energy|
|Foothills Boulevard Regional Landfill (Prince George)||BC||2024||Landfill||0.09||The Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas|
|WM Sainte-Sophie Landfill||QC||2025||Landfill||3.04||La Presse|
|Centre de traitement de la biomasse de la Montérégie (Saint-Pie) Expansion||QC||2025||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.06||Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe|
|Green Lane Landfill (Toronto)||ON||2026||Landfill||0.96||City of Toronto|
|LaSalle Waste Treatment Centre (Montreal)||QC||2027||Agricultural and/or Food Waste||0.15||Nouvelles D’Ici|
Sources: CER, based on information from the project sources listed in the table.
Description: This table lists RNG projects in Canada from those that went into service in 2003 to projects anticipated be on-line in 2027. This table is based on publicly available information.
What is renewable natural gas (RNG)?
Despite making up just 0.36 per cent of the natural gas distributed in Canada in 2021(5), renewable natural gas (RNG) production has grown in recent decades. RNG is comprised of methane. Methane is also the primary component of traditional, or fossil fuel-derived natural gas. While natural gas from fossil fuels is produced primarily from drilling for gas trapped underneath rock formations, RNG is produced from waste products. RNG production is associated with landfill biogas capture, agriculture and/or food waste processing, wastewater processing, and wood waste processing. RNG projects contribute to a circular economy by creating energy from waste products. RNG is also considered a low carbon-intensity fuel and contributes to reducing methane emissions.
What are RNG’s uses?
The raw gas produced from gasses trapped in landfills or from the breakdown of organics in sealed tanks is called biogas and consists of methane, carbon dioxide, water, and other impurities. Biogas can be utilized locally for heating and electricity. However, biogas must be processed to remove impurities. Once processed, RNG is indistinguishable from natural gas and can be injected into natural gas distribution networks or used as fuel in heating, electricity, or transportation.
Figure 2: Biogas and renewable natural gas (RNG)
- For comparison, Canada’s 2021 total end-use demand for natural gas was 4,254 PJ.
- Publications Québec, Regulation respecting the quantity of renewable natural gas to be delivered by a distributor.
- The Province of British Columbia report, CleanBC. Our nature. Our power. Our future, published in 2018.
- The Province of New Brunswick report, Our Pathway Towards Decarbonization and Climate Resilience, New Brunswick’s Climate Change Action Plan, 2022-2027, published September 2022.
- CER Calculation based on data in Table 1 and Canadian monthly natural gas distribution data from Statistics Canada (Table: 25-10-0059-01).
- IEA webpage on the carbon neutrality of bioenergy.
- Over a 100-year period, methane has at least 25 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide (CO2). Environment and Climate Change Canada report, Faster and Further Canada’s Methane Strategy, published September 2022.
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