Ontario is leading the fight against climate change by investing up to $100 million in cap and trade proceeds over four years to support the introduction of renewable natural gas.
Through the Climate Change Action Plan, which will be released this spring, Ontario will encourage the use of cleaner, renewable natural gas in industrial, transportation and buildings sectors, the province's biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The province's investment will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help offset the cost to consumers of introducing renewable natural gas.
Methane that is released from sources such as landfills, municipal green bin collection, agricultural residues, livestock manure, food and beverage manufacturing waste, sewage treatment plants and forestry waste can be recovered, cleaned and can be directly substituted for conventional natural gas. Renewable natural gas is a low-carbon fuel that does not add new carbon to the atmosphere. It is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and uses the same infrastructure.
Natural gas, increasingly sourced from cleaner supplies, will continue to play a critical role in Ontario's energy supply mix for transportation and heating buildings. It is not being banned. Ontario committed to creating a $200 million Natural Gas Access Loan and a $30 million Natural Gas Economic Development Grant to help more communities that previously lacked the necessary infrastructure to switch to a cheaper, cleaner fuel source that will help residential and industry consumers reduce their energy bill.
Ontario is well-placed to be a leader in the next generation of clean technology solutions. In just 10 years, the province has become a North American leader in developing, using and manufacturing clean energy. Ontario's environmental and clean technology sector has 3,000 firms, employs 65,000 people, and is worth an estimated $8 billion in annual revenues and $1 billion in export earnings.
Fighting climate change is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.