Ontario proposes increased blend mandate

By Lisa Gibson | November 30, 2017

Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change released a proposal this week to update the province’s Ethanol in Gasoline Regulation, increasing the blending mandate from 5 to 10 percent by 2020. In addition, the proposal stipulates that the ethanol used must emit at least 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis than petroleum gasoline. 

A comment period on the proposal is open through Jan. 23, followed by a final rule and legislation. Jim Grey, chair of Renewable Industries Canada, said he’s hopeful legislation could be passed and implemented in the next few months. “In moving to a 10 percent ethanol requirement, Ontario is showing leadership in the fight against climate change,” Grey said in a statement. “This policy will generate a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, while creating jobs and economic growth. This is what clean growth is all about.”

Ontario already has quite a bit of overcompliance with the current 5 percent mandate, with most fuel blended around 7 to 7.5 percent, Grey told Ethanol Producer Magazine.

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, said in a statement: “If this proposal is finalized, it will be a win for Canadian consumers, the environment, the ag economy, and biofuel producers. Blending ethanol into fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent compared to conventional gasoline. We are breathing cleaner air every day thanks to our nation’s policy on renewable fuels. And we are pleased to see the government of Ontario take steps toward policies that would provide its citizens with the same benefits.”

The proposal also would:

- Expand the existing incentive for advanced renewable fuel technology to emerging technologies, including renewable gasoline and biocrude, and include a compliance value for renewable gasoline and biocrude, to be informed by consultations. 

- Calculate the lifecycle GHG performance of a fuel in carbon intensity (CI) using GHGenius version 4.03a, or a subsequent model adopted by the director. 

- Require that a professional engineer certify that primary data used in the CI calculations are reasonable and the calculations are correct.

Grey said RICanada has been campaigning on the federal and provincial levels for higher ethanol blends for some time. Quebec is looking at a policy similar to Ontario’s he said, noting that the majority of Canada’s population resides in Quebec and Ontario.

On the federal level, RICanada is pushing for a meaningful Clean Fuel Standard, the framework of which could be published before the end of the year. “Our position is a CFS coupled with a mandate is the best opportunity to lower emissions in the transportation sector.

“It’s clear that ethanol blended into gasoline reduces GHG emissions. I don’t think anyone’s arguing that.” The federal government is exploring incentives for electric vehicle purchases and expanded infrastructure for charging stations, but ethanol has much more near-term benefits. “Changing blending is something that can be immediately impactful.”

Canada also is looking at combining the “patchwork” of mandates across provinces, and Ontario’s action helps boost arguments in favor of a strong mandate, Grey said. “It strengthens our argument that the feds should implement 10 percent federally.”