Terms of Reference - Business
Case Working Group of the Steering Committee for the Project to
Commercialize Agricultural Biomass for Combustion Energy
Table of Contents
- Business Case Analysis
- Members of the Business Case Working Group
The Business Case Working Group was formed by the Steering Committee for the Project to
Commercialize Agricultural Biomass for Combustion Energy to
coordinate analysis of business considerations associated with
the use of agricultural biomass for combustion energy in Ontario.
While replacement of coal with agricultural biomass in Ontario
Power Generation's (OPG) units is the main focus of this project,
the business case analysis will also address other potential users
of agricultural biomass including the cement industry, agricultural
operations (e.g. greenhouses, livestock operations) and others
seeking an alternative fuel source.
The purpose of the Business Case Working Group is to analyze
whether there is a business case for agricultural biomass for
combustion to justify commercialization in Ontario. Business considerations
will be central to the Steering Committee's overall assessment
of whether commercialization of agricultural biomass should be
Assemble the necessary expertise to enable the working group
to develop an objective, transparent and flexible analysis of
business considerations at each step in the agricultural biomass
Draw on the expertise of the Technical Working Group, Environmental
Sustainability Working Group, and other research
underway to analyze
whether there is a business case for agricultural biomass.
- Analyze the working group's ability to deliver on these Terms
of Reference and the need for additional resources.
- Develop a draft framework for the business case analysis that
includes both quantifiable and unquantifiable inputs. The framework
will include a workplan with timelines for all of the required
inputs, using the draft Steering Committee Work Plan (June 14,
2010) as a starting point for scoping the working group's work.
This framework will be presented to the Steering Committee at
its fall 2010 meeting.
- Provide advice to the Steering Committee and its other working
groups on research gaps that need to be filled to analyze the
- Quarterly status updates to the Steering Committee on progress
in analyzing the business case. The updates will include a synthesis
of what is known and still needs to be known to complete the analysis.
- By the end of 2011, the business case analysis will be completed
for Steering Committee consideration. The business case will be
a key factor in the Steering Committee's overall assessment of
agricultural biomass feasibility.
Business Case Analysis
The framework for the business case needs to account for different
supply, demand and processing scenarios and be flexible to making
adjustments over time as information is revealed. The business case
analysis will consider different pathways that businesses could
chose to take in pursuing the opportunity.
The following are some of the key components to be considered:
- Financial analysis at each step in the agricultural biomass
- Business risk management
- Impact on competing uses for agricultural biomass
- Competitiveness with forestry biomass, US-sourced biomass
and other sources of energy
- Risks of proceeding/not proceeding
- Deliverable schedule
- Environmental and societal considerations
- Other items identified in the Steering Committee's Draft Work
Plan (June 14, 2010)
Members of the Business Case Working Group
The composition of the Working Group may vary over time based on
the issues being examined. Experts may be invited to participate
on an on-going basis as members of the working group or contribute
on an ad hoc basis.
The core members include:
- John Kelly, Erie Innovations & Commercialization (Chair)
- Gord Surgeoner, Ontario Agri-Food Technologies
- Barry Hill, Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association
- John Clement, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario
- Dean Tiessen, Pyramid Farms (Miscanthus grower &
business owner, greenhouse owner/operator)
- Scott Abercrombie, Gildale Farms (aggregator)
- Kurt Vanclief, Willowlee Sod Farms Ltd. (switchgrass producer)
- Aung Oo, Sarnia-Lambton Research Park, University of Western
- Al Ker, University of Guelph, Institutional Economics, Trade,
- Lovleen Bassan, Ontario Power Generation
- Stephen Duff, OMAFRA (Senior Economist)
- Saif Sumbal, OMAFRA (Economist)
- Helma Geerts, OMAFRA (Policy)
The Business Case Working Group will provide advice to the Steering
While private business may consider the information collected for
the business case analysis when making business decisions, this
project is not intended to be prescriptive about different business
models, technologies or opportunities to be pursued.
Steering Committee for the Project to Commercialize Agricultural
Biomass for Combustion Energy