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Canadian Gas Association Seeks to Grow Renewable NatGas Market Share

Targets of 5% in 2025 and 10% as of 2030 were set Wednesday for the national market share of renewable natural gas (RNG) by the Canadian Gas Association (CGA).

The goal was announced as the CGA, the voice of local distribution companies, held a workshop on alternative fuel supply development in Toronto. The association estimates that Canada could make 1.2 Tcf/year of RNG, largely by scavenging methane from forestry industry and agricultural waste with supplements from municipal sewage, water treatment and landfill site. More U.S. entities also are targeting more use of RNG (see Daily GPIMay 6).

The CGA acknowledges that the "green" gas is expensive, with production costs today estimated at C$10-25/gigajoule (GJ) or US$7.30-18.30/MMBtu, about five to 10 times the currently severely depressed price of drilled gas from Alberta and British Columbia.

But in Canada, some types of renewable energy are even more expensive, CGA said. The gas association estimates that the energy-equivalent cost of electricity generated with solar panel arrays and wind turbines at C$19-44/GJ (US$13.90-32.20/MMBtu).

The CGA and other gas industry interests are currently embroiled in a lengthy debate over evolving Ontario green energy policy. A draft of the provincial government's plans reportedly includes encouraging, or even mandating, a mass switch to electric from gas heating.

Staying with gas, but hitting the 2020 RNG target, would result in an annual reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of 14 million metric tons -- a greenhouse gas pollution cut equal to taking three million cars off the road, the CGA estimated.

Green gas supporters are seeking a C$50 million (US$38.5 million) federal grant for further work, such as pilot plants, on fulfilling possibilities identified by a 2013 study, RNG Technology Roadmap for Canada. The report tapped federal science expertise in Natural Resource Canada.

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