Terms of Reference - Environmental Sustainability Working Group of the Steering Committee for the Project to Commercialize Agricultural Biomass for Combustion Energy

Table of Contents

  1. Background
  2. Purpose
  3. Tasks
  4. Deliverables
  5. BMP-EFP Task Team
  6. Members of the Environmental Sustainability Working Group
  7. Decision-Making

Background

The Environmental Sustainability Working Group was formed by the Steering Committee for the Project to Commercialize Agricultural Biomass for Combustion Energy to recommend specifications of agricultural biomass to provide assurance that biomass sourced from Ontario's agricultural sector is renewable and sustainable.

While replacement of coal with agricultural biomass in Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) units is the main focus of this project, the Working Group will also consider other potential users of agricultural biomass including the cement industry, agricultural operations (e.g. greenhouses, livestock operations) and others seeking an alternative fuel source.

Purpose

The purpose of the Environmental Sustainability Working Group is to monitor, assess, and share information related to the environmental sustainability of agricultural biomass used for combustion energy generation, recommend specifications of agricultural biomass to provide assurance that biomass sourced from Ontario's agricultural sector is renewable and sustainable, and provide input leading to the development of appropriate agronomic best management practices and biomass certification requirements.

Tasks

  1. Scan environmental sustainability criteria for agriculture adopted by other jurisdictions at national and sub-national levels, as well as through international agencies/organizations, and determine applicability to agricultural biomass.
  2. Examine and evaluate Ontario's Environmental Farm Plan in terms of how it compares with other jurisdictions' systems for recognizing environmental sustainability and its potential to be adapted for environmental certification purposes.
  3. Recommend specifications of agricultural biomass that include suitable certification requirements to provide assurance that biomass sourced from Ontario's agricultural sector is renewable and sustainable.
  4. Through the work of the BMP-EFP Task Team, determine the feasibility of methods for making biomass certification complementary to the Environmental Farm Plan approval and implementation processes, as an optional additional program.
  5. Monitor international developments related to determining agricultural biomass sustainability and the applicability of other programs' sustainability criteria to Ontario.

Deliverables

  1. Provide quarterly status updates to the Steering Committee on progress.
  2. Research and review potential international, national and sub-national environmental sustainability criteria and certifications systems that may be applied to Ontario's agricultural biomass to provide assurance the biomass is renewable and sustainable.
  3. Based on assessment of existing certification systems, recommend specifications of agricultural biomass to provide assurance that biomass sourced from Ontario's agricultural sector is renewable and sustainable.
  4. Based on Deliverable #3, provide input to the work of the BMP-EFP Task Team on environmental sustainability and certification issues. Refer to the Terms of Reference of the BMP-EFP Task Team for its scope and tasks.
  5. Monitor and assess developments related to applicable international, national and sub-national certification systems. (e.g. Biomass Crop Assistance Program, US Department of Agriculture) and advise the Steering Committee if the Working Group's recommendations need to be revised as a result.
  6. By the end of 2011, provide to the Steering Committee a proposal for certification of environmentally sustainable agricultural biomass, incorporating proposals from the BMP-EFP Task Team for bringing such certification into the Environmental Farm Plan approval and implementation processes.
  7. Provide to the Steering Committee the results of the Life Cycle Assessment of agricultural biomass being conducted for Ontario Power Generation, as well as other relevant LCAs.

BMP-EFP Task Team

The Working Group has established an OMAFRA-led Best Management Practices – Environmental Farm Plan (BMP-EFP) Task Team, which has its own Terms of Reference. The Task Team reports regularly to the Working Group on its progress.

Members of the Environmental Sustainability Working Group

The composition of the working group may vary over time based on the issues being examined. Experts may be invited to participate on an ongoing basis on the working group or contribute on an ad hoc basis. The core members include:

  • Rob Lyng, Ontario Power Generation (Chair)
  • David Armitage, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
  • John Fitzgibbon, Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition
  • Bryan Gilvesy, Norfolk ALUS
  • Adam Hayes, OMAFRA
  • Barry Hill, Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association
  • Linda Pim, OMAFRA
  • Paul Smith, OMAFRA
  • Nathan Stevens, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario
  • Gord Surgeoner, Ontario Agri-Food Technologies
  • Tammy Wong, Ontario Power Generation

Decision-Making

The Environmental Sustainability Working Group will provide information and advice to the Steering Committee and will share information with other Working Groups as needed.

Steering Committee for the Project to Commercialize Agricultural Biomass for Combustion Energy

Figure 1. Steering Committee for the Project to Commercialize Agricultural Biomass for Combustion Energy

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For more information:
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E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 30 May 2011
Last Reviewed: 30 May 2011