FortisBC announces RNG agreements with REN Energy, CRD

By Erin Voegele | May 04, 2020

FortisBC announced April 30 it is teaming up with REN Energy International Corp. to offer renewable natural gas (RNG) produced from wood waste to its customers. The company also recently announced it will purchase RNG generated from Hartland Landfill for beneficial use in its natural gas distribution system.

The project with REN Energy features technology being used for the first time in North America. A facility owned and operated by REN Energy is being developed near Fruitvale, British Columbia. It will take in waste from forestry operations, sawmills, and other wood product manufacturers. Rather than collecting methane from decomposition of these materials, the plant will create syngas through gasification. The syngas is converted to methane and then purified to meet pipeline specifications. The project received regulatory approval from the British Columbia Utilities Commission in March and is expected to begin operations in mid-2021. Once operational, the facility is expected to produce more than 1 million gigajoules of RNG annually.

FortisBC also recently announced plans to insert RNG generated from the Hartland Landfill into its natural gas distribution system. The company announced the agreement with Capital Regional District on April 22, noting it will allow FortisBC to purchase between 140,000 gigajoules to 280,000 gigajoules each year for 25 years, starting in late 2021.

The CRD and FortisBC are currently working together on a supply contract that will be submitted to the British Columbia Utilities Commission for approval. If approved by the commission, CRD will continue to be responsible for the ownership and operation of the Hartland Landfill, the landfill gas collection system and the upgrade facility. FortisBC will pay a fixed price per gigajoule for the RNG and will be responsible for the costs associated with injecting the RNG into the natural gas distribution system.

Heartland Landfill began producing electricity from landfill gas in 2004 and currently supplies electricity to approximately 1,600 homes. The volume of biogas being produced at the facility has exceed the capacity of the current system, and the existing infrastructure is reaching the end of its useful life. The plan to upgrade that landfill gas into RNG is expected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by approximately 264,000 metric tons over the 25-year project life. The landfill also considered expanding the existing power generation equipment, but found that would result in a much smaller 2,800 metric ton GHG reduction.