The Canadian Biogas Association was retained by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to undertake an analysis of the regulatory barriers impacting agricultural biogas development in Canada and identification of measures and/or tools to navigate anaerobic digester regulations and increase growth in the sector.
The report, Analysis of Regulatory Barriers Impacting Agricultural Biogas Development in Canada, considers regulatory pathways from all ten provinces in Canada, summarizes regulations and requirements, and draws conclusions on barriers and potential solutions based on stakeholder experiences.
By addressing regulatory barriers, Canadian governments can help small and medium-sized enterprises traverse the complexities of the regulatory system, accelerate innovative industry biogas projects, and improve Canadian competitiveness. The objectives of this analysis are to understand the patchwork of agricultural biogas plant regulations across Canada, to evaluate the level of regulatory complexity and how it affects project development, and to identify opportunities for regulatory harmonization.
Regulatory pathways in all ten provinces in Canada were considered. Provinces with more advanced agricultural biogas activity were analyzed in depth, namely Québec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.
Common regulatory barriers across Canada include long regulatory timelines, rigid definitions of agricultural biogas and on-farm feedstock requirements, lack of technology understanding and awareness, lack of government support and recognition of environmental benefits of biogas, lack of communication among regulatory bodies, and overly onerous regulatory requirements and specifications that don’t apply specifically of agricultural biogas.
Common barriers to development that were not related to regulations include challenges connecting to the natural gas and electricity grid and securing financing and project economics.
After analysis of the barriers and potential solutions to province-specific challenges, this report makes recommendations on how regulatory barriers could be overcome and more Canada-wide regulatory harmonization achieved. These include developing tools that help stakeholders navigate the regulatory pathways and that educate government, increasing collaboration among government departments, and specific policy recommendations that would improve regulatory processes and encourage agricultural biogas development.