OFA: Natural gas provides affordable and “greener” way to fuel rural Ontario
By Rejean Pommainville, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
Natural gas is the cleanest, most affordable and efficient fossil fuel available in Ontario to heat our homes and use in commercial and industrial processes. Renewable natural gas offers an even better option for a more environmentally sustainable source of energy for the province, and agricultural byproducts can help fuel this cleaner energy.
The Ontario Federation of Agricutlure (OFA) has been pushing for expanding the infrastructure needed to deliver natural gas to all corners of the province. When you consider that only 20% of rural Ontario has access to this affordable energy source compared to 88% of urban areas, we are past due for the pipeline infrastructure that will bring energy to our homes and farm businesses.
While natural gas is technically a greenhouse gas, it burns cleaner than other fossil fuels, emitting lower levels of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Natural gas burns similar to propane, and while propane has a “green” fuel label, both energy sources have little impact on the environment and are considered eco-friendly.
There is another opportunity to expanding natural gas infrastructure across Ontario – in addition to making an affordable energy input available to farms and rural businesses. The pipeline assets required for natural gas bring the option of carrying renewable natural gas energy in the future. Renewable natural gas is biogas or biomethane that’s generated from municipal organic waste, farm waste and biomass. And that means agriculture can have a key role in providing cleaner energy across Ontario.
The Access to Natural Gas Act will help extend natural gas pipeline to rural and northern regions of the province. Money collected from a new $1 monthly charge to gas bills is helping to fund expansion that has been unaffordable to date. And the new act is ensuring the most number of customers at the lowest cost will be in line for new natural gas projects.
OFA continues to keep close tabs on the progress of natural gas expansion in rural Ontario to ensure our farm businesses and local communities can operate in a competitive environment with affordable energy options.