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One great feature of the Green Energy Act will be freeing renewable energy projects from the current straightjacket of Ministry of the Environment rules on “waste”. Biogas facilities, for example, are currently labeled as “waste disposal sites” instead of energy generation facilities. This has numerous adverse consequences, and makes it very difficult to site them. Most municipalities have restrictive, if any, zoning for waste disposal sites.
The Ministry of the Environment has attempted to cope with this problem on a one off, patchwork basis that never keeps pace with technology. For example, Regulation 347 provides an exemption for biodiesel, but not for biogas. On-farms manure digesters are exempt, but only if they are tiny.
The Ministry has begun to experiment with a “comprehensive” approval for renewable energy sites, combining air and waste certificates of approval into a single document, but they couldn’t get away from the stigma of a waste disposal site. Now, this problem will be swept away – green energy projects will obtain “renewable energy approvals” and will no longer be stigmatized as “waste disposal sites”.

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