Opportunities for Building a Farm-based Anaerobic Digester System in Ontario

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Considerations and Opportunities for Building a
Farm-Based Anaerobic Digester System in Ontario
Don Hilborn, Engineer, By-Products & Jake DeBruyn, Engineer, New Technology Integration INTRODUCTION
Anaerobic digester (AD) systems produce electricity and heat from the biogas produced from organic inputs. Farm-based AD systems represent a significant opportunity for farmers to capture new value from agricultural product and byproducts, and from some off-farm organic inputs. As farm-based green energy becomes a new on-farm product, more and more farmers will be looking at ways to finance and build AD systems.

This InfoSheet presents some key opportunities and issues currently identified by the authors. It is based on the information obtained at the time of writing. Since this an evolving sector with frequent new developments, it is necessary to ensure that all issues involved in building a farm-based AD system be fully explored.

To obtain more current information on any of the programs listed in the InfoSheet, directly contact the provider of the program. This contact information has been included with the description of each program. Another important source is the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Publication No. 07-015 Programs and Services for Ontario Farmers www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/busdev/facts/07-021.htm

FUNDING PROGRAMS FOR PLANNING AN ON-FARM AD PROJECT

Canadian Farm Business Advisory Service
The Canadian Farm Business Advisory Service, a partnership between Agriculture and AgriFood Canada and OMAFRA, offers a Specialized Business Planning Service for farmers who are diversifying their business operations.   This fund pays up to half the cost of hiring a business planning expert to assess the financial viability of a proposed project and to assist in preparing the business plan. Farm-based projects, with a farm family as one of the investors/owners, are eligible. Non-farmers can be part of a project but only the farmer can qualify for the 50 per cent funding on business planning services.  

Eligible farmers can receive up to a 50 per cent refund, to a maximum of $8,000 assistance per individual farmer and a maximum refund of $25,000 for a group of four or more farmers.

For more details, contact:
Canadian Farm Business Advisory Services, 1-866-452-5558, www.agr.gc.ca/renewal.

Community Power Fund
The Community Power Fund is interested in supporting community biogas projects. Applicants must be members of OSEA. Information on criteria and means of being a member is available from contacts listed below.

Small grants will be up to $50,000 and will cover two categories of projects: 1) Pre-feasibility, open to projects that require resources to undertake a part of or a whole feasibility study for a local renewable energy project. 2) Strategic Opportunities, open to projects that are beyond the pre-feasibility stage but who may have encountered a hurdle, barrier or opportunity requiring immediate attention and funding. 

Large grants, up to a maximum of $300,000 (over one to three years depending on the project proposal), will be available to projects that have made sufficient progress to date, and can prove a relatively clear path ahead, such that their project will be installed and commissioned by the end of 2010 at the latest.

Both grant programs will only cover soft costs associated with project development, organizational development, training, community engagement and membership development.  

For more details contact
Meghan MacLennan (meghan@cpfund.ca) or 416-977-3154, Deborah Doncaster  (deb@cpfund.ca) or 416-977-3154, or the web site www.cpfund.ca  (available mid September 2007)

CAPITAL FUNDING FOR BIOGAS SYSTEMS

Ontario Biogas Systems Financial Assistance Program
On July 26, 2007, the Government of Ontario announced the Ontario Biogas Systems Financial Assistance Program. This $9 million initiative is designed to encourage...
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