Two thirds of natural gas may come from renewable sources in Québec by 2030: Study

Mario Cywinski
December 13, 2018
Written by
WSP Canada and Deloitte  conducted a study to evaluate the technical and economic potential for renewable natural gas (RNG) production in Québec between now and 2030. This study, which was requested by Énergir, was overseen by a steering committee of key industry players; including the Chair in Energy Sector Management – HEC Montréal, the Conseil de l'industrie forestière du Québec, Énergir, RECYC-QUÉBEC and the Union des producteurs agricoles.

"Against the backdrop of energy transition, this study has initiated a collective discussion regarding the potential of Québec's renewable natural gas sector," said Gildas Poissonnier, Senior Manager of Sustainability and Climate Change at Deloitte. "It's a great starting point for an informed dialogue among the key players in energy, economic and regional development in Québec."
The results of the study show that as of 2018, the technical and economic potential amounts to 25.8 million GJ, which corresponds to 12 per cent of the volume of natural gas currently distributed by Énergir in Québec.

"Énergir is extremely proud to have participated in this study. The conclusions are clear: the energy potential is real. Renewable natural gas would greatly contribute to achieving GHG reduction targets and we have to collectively seize this innovation opportunity in Québec. It is also a preferred driver for energy transition in more advanced countries like Sweden and Denmark. Europe has seen strong growth of RNG, and we firmly believe that Québec should take the lead in this sector in North America," maintained Sophie Brochu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Énergir.

By 2030, this percentage could increase fivefold through the implementation of developing technologies, reaching two-thirds of the current volume, i.e. 144.3 million GJ. These potential figures take into account an average purchase price for RNG of $15/GJ. RNG presents an opportunity for Québec to contribute to the energy transition.

Highlights of the study include:
The technical and economic potential by 2030 is substantial and RNG consumption could reach 66 per cent of the current consumption of natural gas by that date.

The technical and economic potential is the proportion of organic waste that can economically be transformed into RNG under the current market conditions, but without taking into account all aspects of the business environment, which will determine whether a project will be completed (e.g. competition over organic waste)
.
By 2030, all regions of Québec present a technical and economic potential for RNG production using local organic waste (existence of a forest industry, agricultural area, etc.)

Reaching the full technical and economic RNG production potential will depend on key factors such as the implementation of an environment favourable to the emergence of RNG projects, and the concerted effort of local players.

With regard to greenhouse gases (GHGs), reaching these volumes of RNG by 2030 by replacing natural gas produced outside Québec would equate to taking 1.5 million cars off the road per year, thereby preventing more than 7.2 Mt of GHG emissions.

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