RNG can be used in existing pipelines for furnaces, boilers or even in vehicles the same as natural gas would be; Helping residents and businesses reduce their emissions without expensive investments in new equipment.
In Canada there is a lot of organic matter that goes to waste every year. It is estimated there is the potential for enough RNG to replace about 1.3% of all energy used in Canada. That’s more than all the wind, solar and geothermal energy generated in Canada in 2019.
What is the role for RNG in Atlantic Canada’s energy future?
Renewable natural gas can play a relatively small but important role in Atlantic Canada’s energy future.
It is one of the few non-emitting dispatchable energy sources. Unlike most other renewable energy sources, it is available as soon as it is needed, like on the coldest mornings. The technology exists to produce and burn it today, without needing homes and businesses to invest in expensive new equipment. It is also important to encourage RNG development capture GHGs from waste that would otherwise be emitted.
RNG will be important for businesses that can’t electrify or switch energy sources easily like in large industrial companies or heavy transportation. Natural gas is commonly used in these sectors, but as fossil fuels are phased out, clean hydrogen or electrification technology are not ready yet. Using RNG instead of natural gas can help these sectors reduce emissions until other technology becomes available.
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Full disclosure: The Atlantica Centre for Energy represents many of the largest energy producers and consumers in Atlantic Canada, including renewable energy. As well, the Centre’s members represent governments, research groups and academia. The Centre examines all types of energy to help decarbonize while growing economies across the region.