Ameresco evaluating biogas RIN opportunities

By Anna Simet | August 06, 2014

During its recent Q2 financial earnings call, Ameresco Inc. indicated it is exploring opportunities that the growing renewable compressed and liquid natural gas market has to offer.

George Sakellaris, Ameresco president, chairman and CEO, spoke briefly about the EPA’s recent renewable fuel standard (RFS) pathway rule, which expanded the number of renewable fuels that qualify as cellulosic. “Compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas and electricity used to power electric vehicles produced from biogas from landfills or digesters now qualify for cellulosic renewable identification numbers (RINs) that fuel producers may purchase to help meet RFS volume requirements,” he said. 

While there are a number of project specific variables to analyze in order for Ameresco to determine the opportunity, Sakellaris said, the most significant variable is that biogas must contain the proper quality and quantity to economically process into a high-British thermal unit (BTU) gas product of similar specification to natural gas. “Ameresco is experienced with operating the technology used to convert biogas to high-BTU gas, as it is similar to a process we are using currently for a wastewater-to-energy facility,” he said.

In anticipation of the rule, Ameresco has been exploring the possibility of making necessary capital improvements in the near-term that would allow conversion of landfill gas output to high-BTU gas for a few of its assets where the company believes there is an opportunity, Sakellaris added. “We will provide an update on our progress over the next few quarters. Going forward, we believe that the option of converting raw landfill gas and wastewater digester output to high-BTU gas, and potentially sold as RINs, could improve the overall economics of landfill gas and digester projects and increase demand as a result.

During the call, Andrew Spence, Ameresco chief financial officer and vice president, reported that Ameresco expects to earn revenues in the range of $560 million to $600 million, and net income to be in the range of $8 million to $14 million in 2014.