Vermont PUC approves RNG program for Vermont Gas customers

By Vermont Public Utility Commission | September 13, 2017

The Vermont Public Utility Commission recently approved a renewable natural gas (RNG) program for Vermont Gas Systems Inc.

RNG, also known as bio-methane, is produced from materials such as agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, and compost. Under the program, retail customers can choose to buy RNG in amounts equal to 10 percent, 25 percent, 50 percent, or 100 percent of their total monthly requirements at specified prices per Ccf as an adder to other retail charges.

VGS plans to purchase RNG from the recently permitted Lincoln project that will be built on the Goodrich Farm in Salisbury, Vermont. The bio-methane produced by the Salisbury facility will be blended with the traditional fossil fuel supply in VGS's pipeline. VGS also plans to obtain RNG from existing resources, such as solid waste facilities, that are located outside Vermont.

In its order, the PUC wrote that the RNG program “represents a meaningful first step in encouraging customer interest in purchasing RNG at retail, thereby stimulating supply of RNG into the market." It emphasized "the importance of the successful implementation of the RNG program in helping to meet the State's renewable energy policy objectives."

The PUC and the Vermont Department of Public Service will assess the RNG program on an annual basis and comprehensively review the effectiveness of the program every three years to ensure appropriate progress toward the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan goal to meet 90 percent of Vermont's energy needs through renewable sources.

VGS is required to file and implement a marketing plan to increase customer awareness of and participation in the program. Marketing efforts will include an online calculator so that a VGS customer can easily calculate the bill impacts of participating in the program. VGS will file a proposed tariff with the PUC for customers that choose to participate in the program. Sales under the program will begin after PUC approval of that tariff.

The text of the PUC's decision and more information about Case No. 8667 are available via the PUC's electronic filing and case management system, ePUC, at the following website: epsc.vermont.gov.