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December 01, 2009

Ontario has Filed its GHG Emissions Reporting Regulation

On December 1, 2009 Ontario filed its final Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulation (O. Reg. 452/09) under the Environmental Protection Act. The regulation will ensure that an estimated 200 to 300 large emitters of prescribed greenhouse gases (GHGs) will provide regulators detailed GHG emissions data to support a multi-jurisdictional cap-and-trade system. The new regulation comes into force on January 1, 2010.

The final regulation closely resembles the draft posted for public comment on October 7, 2009. To view the W+SEL’s September/October Newsletter please click here . There have been some minor revisions relating to third party verification, the protection of confidential business information and various technical clarifications. These changes are summarized below.

The regulation applies to refineries, pulp and paper companies, energy generation facilities, chemical producers and metallurgical companies, as classified in 26 sectors. All prescribed facilities will be required to quantify their annual GHG emissions using standardized methods set out in the new Guideline for GHG Emissions Reporting. For the 2010 reporting year, facilities will be permitted to use alternative methods as described in the Guideline or approved by the Ministry of the Environment. The standardized quantification methods, which have been tailored for each of the 26 sectors, are based on procedures developed by the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

All prescribed facilities must collect emissions data but only those that emit 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) or more per year are subject to the annual reporting requirements. The first emissions report, covering the 2010 calendar year, is due by June 1, 2011. Beginning with the 2011 reporting year, the emissions data must be verified by an accredited third party and a verification report submitted by September 1 of the calendar year following the reporting period. All documentation and data must be retained for at least seven years. The Director can require any prescribed facility that does not file an annual emission report to submit proof that its emissions did not exceed the 25,000 tonne threshold during the relevant reporting period.

In response to a number of comments on the costs and administrative burden associated with third party verification of emissions data, the Ministry says it will continue to look for ways to “streamline” the verification requirements, in accordance with its other cap-and-trade partners. It will also work with accreditation agencies and verification service providers to ensure sufficient capacity is in place when the verification provisions take effect in the 2011 reporting period.

A number of concerns were also raised about the protection of confidential business information. The Ministry has removed from the final regulation data submission requirements that are “not essential for the design of a future cap-and-trade program or for a high level quality assessment of the reported emissions.” In addition, much of the sensitive information doesn’t have to be submitted, but can be kept on site by the company for audit by the Ministry.

 

The Ministry has also made the following technical changes to the regulation and the reporting Guideline

 

  • Continuous emissions monitoring is only required when there is already a requirement for such monitors by federal or other provincial regulations
  • The definition of facility has been harmonized with the federal reporting requirements
  • The frequency of fuel sampling and analysis has been reduced to match the U.S. EPA’s mandatory reporting regulation (the Ministry will also explore the possibility of providing province-wide fuel data that could be used by all regulated facilities)
  • A company can postpone the calibration of flow meters until its next scheduled shutdown
  • The biomass definition has been harmonized with the Green Energy Act, 2009and the reporting requirements modified to allow for the use of emission factors
  • The deadlines have been extended for confirming a facility is below the reporting threshold or submitting a revised report
  • A number of modifications were made to the cement and lime sector requirements to address technical errors and improve harmonization with U.S. requirements.

For more information, contact:

Paul Manning - (416) 862-4843