Increased access to natural gas in rural Ontario is a win for farmers, OFA president says
By Jackie Clark
The government of Ontario is moving forward with Phase Two of the Natural Gas Expansion Program, allocating “$234 million to support approximately 8750 connections in 43 rural, northern and Indigenous communities,” according to a June 9 release.
Phase One of the program began in 2019.
Natural gas is important to give farms and other rural agri-businesses a competitive edge, Peggy Brekveld, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, told Farms.com.
“Natural gas is going to help our bottom line,” she explained. “It is a more cost-efficient fuel than diesel which some of us use to heat our homes and barns. Of the fossil fuels it’s probably the cleanest.”
Installing natural gas connections is also a key investment when looking at the future of clean energy, Brekveld said.
“We will be able to put biogas into the line,” she explained. That energy source will “certainly help the environment with renewable and green fuel for the future.”
Brekveld knows firsthand the impact that natural gas can make to a farm business.
“When my farm got natural gas, we saw our fuel bills go down about $500 a month on our dairy farm,” she said. “We were heating with electric at the time. So, I know the value of getting natural gas and how much more cost-efficient it is.”
Producers “can do a lot more good things around the farm when you free up that cash flow,” she added.
The government predicts that residential households could save between $250 and $1500 per year, while businesses will save approximately 30 per cent.
“Construction for projects under Phase 2 will begin as soon as this year, with all 28 expansion projects expected to be underway by the end of 2025,” said the release.
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