Project to Commercialize
Agricultural Biomass for Combustion Energy - Terms of Reference
Table of Contetnts
- Anticipated Outcomes if Agricultural Biomass is
- Principles and Guidelines of the Project
- Steering Committee Decision-Making and Other Operating
The Ontario government has committed to fighting climate change
by eliminating coal-fired electricity generation at government-owned
facilities by the end of 2014. This action will achieve the single
largest greenhouse gas reduction in Ontario. Towards this goal,
the November, 2010 Long Term Energy Plan states that "Ontario
will consider the possible conversion of some of the units at
Nanticoke and Lambton to natural gas, if necessary for system
reliability... Ontario will continue to explore opportunities
for co-firing of biomass with natural gas for any units converted
to natural gas." The Ministerial directive to Ontario Power Authority
to guide their preparation of an integrated power system plan
indicates that a decision on conversion of the Nanticoke and Lambton
thermal stations and the potential role agricultural biomass might
play, will be made in 2012.
Within this context, Ontario Power Generation (OPG)'s Thermal
Repowering Program is exploring options to convert some of its
coal-fuelled electricity generating stations to natural gas and/or
forest or agriculture-based biomass.
In the meantime, other markets and opportunities are emerging.
The cement industry, and greenhouse operators, for example, are
seeking alternative sources of energy to "green" their production,
reduce costs and prepare for potential regulation of greenhouse
gas emissions through a cap and trade system. Other potential
opportunities include distributed electricity generation and combined
heat and power systems.
The agricultural sector in Ontario is represented by a large
and diverse number of organizations including general farm organizations,
producer groups and cooperatives that are interested in the value
chains and business models associated with the utilization of
agricultural biomass for energy generation. Consequently, there
is a need to co-ordinate and focus the efforts of the agricultural
and rural sectors, researchers and key partners to validate the
long-term prospects of this business opportunity.
The purpose of this project is to coordinate the analysis of
the feasibility of a commercial agricultural biomass industry
for combustion energy in Ontario and, if feasible, set the foundation
for the industry.
To explore different markets and value chains that may involve
To advance the analysis of the cost effectiveness, environmental
sustainability and technical feasibility of developing a commercial
agricultural biomass industry in Ontario for combustion energy
To identify and help fill research gaps
If found to be viable and sustainable, to help develop a
commercial agricultural biomass industry in Ontario with a production
capability for fuel to match anticipated market demands
To promote and help develop opportunities for the agricultural
sector and rural communities in Ontario to fully participate
in the green economy through provision of renewable feedstocks
to replace fossil fuels
Anticipated Outcomes if Agricultural Biomass
Reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel
Creation of new jobs and investments in the emerging Ontario
Creation of a robust market for Ontario agricultural biomass
for energy generation
Participation of the Ontario agricultural sector in different
biomass for energy value chains
Potential opportunity for the Ontario agricultural sector
to participate in the carbon offsets market through upcoming
GHG cap and trade program(s)
This project focuses on the following key deliverables through
structured conferences, workshops, web-based tools, outreach programs,
and, as necessary, through sponsored research:
Support, co-ordinate and transfer information and research
that enables the feasibility of agricultural biomass commercialization
to be assessed. The specific needs include:
Learning from the experience in other jurisdictions
Identifying and addressing regulatory, policy, institutional,
infrastructure, fiscal, financial and technological barriers
to the utilization of agricultural biomass for energy generation
throughout the value chain
Develop technical knowledge to support informed response
to public and other stakeholder inquiries
Identifying suitable purpose-grown energy crops and agricultural
residues in different growing regions considering yields,
harvesting equipment, harvesting strategies, soil types,
Assessing producer costs of production, costs and efficiencies
throughout biomass energy value chains and economic feasibility
relative to other energy sources
Assessing strategies for storage, transportation, and
Undertaking greenhouse gas (GHG) lifecycle analyses and
environmental sustainability assessments for a group of
representative crops (i.e. purpose-grown energy crops and
crops providing residues for energy)
Characterizing densified agricultural biomass potential
(energy content, densification options, combustion chemistry,
ash and emissions) and addressing limitations such as chemistry
Determining crop production optimization practices to
maximize fuel quality and minimize technical, health and
safety and environmental concerns
If found to be viable and sustainable, work with a network
of producers of agricultural biomass and build the knowledge
and capacity to establish a value chain to meet the requirements
of key interested biomass users including OPG
Identify a contingent of financially and technically capable
agricultural biomass aggregators including co-operatives and/or
Principles and Guidelines of the Project
Functionally, the project is guided by the following principles
The project will serve as catalyst for developing the agricultural
biomass energy industry if economically viable and sustainable,
and assisting with technology/knowledge transfer.
It will promote a collaborative approach among biomass producer
groups (growers, processors and suppliers), as well as industry,
academia and government.
The project will be a "virtual" organization supported by
in-kind contribution of effort by participating organizations
and corporations, in addition to minimal staff support by OPG
A variety of funding agencies may support individual projects/tasks.
This project will provide an overall coordination role.
Products of this project (e.g., research reports, etc.) will
be in the public domain.
The duration of the project will be determined by OPG and
OMAFRA. It will be a time-limited project, the progress of which
will be reviewed no later than two years after commencement.
Provincial support for the commercialization of the agricultural
biomass industry will remain within the purview of decision-makers
in the provincial government.
This project is overseen by a Steering Committee of industry,
governments and other interested parties, co-chaired by OPG and
OMAFRA. The Steering Committee provides guidance and direction
for the project.
The Steering Committee may include representation from:
Ontario Power Generation (2 representatives)
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs
Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (1 representative)
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (1 representative)
Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition (1 representative)
Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (1 representative)
Ontario Federation of Agriculture (1 representative)
Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario (1 representative)
Norfolk ALUS Pilot Project (1 representative)
Industry (3 representatives)
Academia (1 representative)
First Nations (1 representative)
Steering Committee Decision-Making and Other
A. Steering Committee Members
- Each member or their organization will name an alternate member;
only the Member or his/her alternate is to participate
in each meeting, not both.
- Steering Committee members shall address broad interests and
issues that will advance the Project, rather than the interests
and issues of the organizations they represent or individual
- The role of each Steering Committee member is to:
Members may not act as official spokespersons for the Steering
Members may publicly discuss matters noted in Committee meeting
minutes, which will serve as the official written record of
the Committee's work.
Work of the Committee (e.g. reports, recommendations) that
is in draft form shall not be shared beyond the Committee.
- Attend and actively participate in all official meetings.
Meetings will be held approximately quarterly. Additional
meetings for special purposes will be held, as agreed upon
by the members.
- Continue the Committee's work between meetings, as needed.
- Share information with other Committee members and provide
guidance and direction to the Project.
- Work with other Committee members to co-coordinate events,
meetings and activities.
- Consider the advice and recommendations of the Working
Groups (see E below).
- Work with other members to attempt to reach consensus
on decisions before the Committee.
- The Co-chairs consist of one representative from OPG and one
representative from OMAFRA.
- Alternates for the Co-chairs are the second of the two OPG
representatives and the two OMAFRA representatives on the Steering
- The Co-chairs act as spokespersons for the committee and will
approve official communications about the Steering Committee's
- The Co-chairs alternate the role of Steering Committee meeting
Chair, or make other mutually agreed arrangements for chairing.
- The role of the meeting Chair is to:
- Preside over meetings
- Preserve order and decide all questions of order
- Assist the Steering Committee in reaching a consensus
- Assign other roles, other than those listed in A4, to
Steering Committee members, as appropriate
C. Steering Committee Decisions
- The Steering Committee provides advice for the consideration
of OPG and the provincial ministries (OMAFRA and MEI).
- A quorum shall be a majority of Steering Committee members.
If a quorum is not reached at a given meeting, this must be
noted in the minutes. However, discussions may proceed.
- The Steering Committee is expected to arrive at decisions
- If consensus cannot be reached on a particular issue, the
various positions will be recorded in meeting minutes.
D. Provincial Government Decisions
- Decisions that are solely the purview of OPG or the provincial
government, such as OPG or provincial funding of initiatives,
projects or research and OPG or provincial government policy
and programs, are not within the capacity of the Steering Committee
- While the Steering Committee may provide advice on these items,
decisions will rest with these agencies.
E. Working Groups
- OPG and OMAFRA may establish Working Groups which consist
of a broad spectrum of knowledgeable individuals and agency
- The Steering Committee may make recommendations to OPG and
OMAFRA for suitable persons to appoint to Working Groups.
- The composition of Working Groups will vary over time based
on the issues being explored.
- Members of the Steering Committee can participate in Working
Groups if they wish to do so.
- Working Group meetings are open to the public.
- The role of the Working Groups is to:
Provide subject-matter advice to the Steering Committee
on issues related to the project's Objectives and Deliverables
Accept submissions and representations by agricultural
and other stakeholders for potential advice to the Steering
Attend meetings and perform other tasks as defined by OPG
and OMAFRA, at the request of the Steering Committee
F. Public Access, Confidentiality and Delegations
- Steering Committee meetings are open to Steering Committee
members/alternates (subject to A2 above) and to support staff
from OPG and OMAFRA (subject to G, below).
- Minutes from Steering Committee meetings will be publicly
available documents and will include both contextual information
and documentation of decisions made.
- Products of the Project, such as research reports, will be
made publicly available.
- Members of the public or representatives of organizations
may be considered for a delegation to the Steering Committee
on their own request or the request of a Steering Committee
member made in writing or by e-mail to the Co-chairs, setting
out the issue to be presented to the Committee. This request
must be made at least three working days prior to the meeting
at which the presentation would be made.
- Upon completion of a presentation to the Steering Committee
by a delegation, members may ask questions for clarification
or request additional information. Steering Committee members
must not enter into debate with the delegation.
- Staff from OPG and OMAFRA will provide essential coordination
and support to the Steering and Advisory Committees. This includes
agenda and minute preparation and distribution, meeting co-ordination,
and follow-up to action items, as appropriate.
H. Declaration of Interest
- Steering Committee and Working Group members have an obligation
to disclose personal or pecuniary interests that could raise
a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest and
refrain from discussing such matters in the course of their
work on the Committees.
- Personal or pecuniary interests are interests in which a Steering
Committee or Working Group member, members of their family,
employer, or the organization which the member represents in
another capacity other than employment (e.g. as a member of
the Board of Directors) could gain or lose financially as a
result of the decision made on an issue considered by the Committee
or Working Groups.
I. Maintenance and Refinement of Terms of Reference
- The Terms of Reference will be maintained by support staff.
- The Terms of Reference will be reviewed approximately annually.
- Amendments may be made by the Steering Committee, subject
to the agreement of OPG and OMAFRA.
J. Reimbursement of Committee Members
- The involvement of Steering Committee and Working Group members
is strictly voluntary and reimbursements for expenses will not
For more information:
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