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Energy innovation
 / 06.18.19

Renewable Natural Gas: part of B.C.’s low carbon future

British Columbia has committed to making significant reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. FortisBC supports that goal and we’re taking steps to help the province achieve it.

One of the ways we’re doing that is by developing Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)—a certified carbon neutral energy source. Eligible customers have the option of having part, or all, of the natural gas they receive be designated RNG.

What is Renewable Natural Gas?

Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) is produced differently than conventional natural gas. Farms, landfills and other suppliers, such as The City of Surrey, have teamed up with FortisBC to capture the naturally occurring methane from decomposing organic waste. This saves the waste from going to a landfill and the methane from going into the atmosphere. The captured methane is purified to make RNG.

I’m passionate about the RNG program because I can see the benefits for local farmers, and for all British Columbians.

Scott Gramm Manager, Renewable Natural Gas, FortisBC

How is Renewable Natural Gas made?

When we’re talking to our customers about RNG, one of the questions we’re most often asked is “how do you make it?” We’re happy to share the recipe.

One of the ways RNG is made is by collecting residential food scraps, yard waste and commercial organic waste at our suppliers’ processing facilities and mixing it with other organic waste—such as cow manure—in oxygen-free digester tanks. Naturally occurring bacteria break down the organic matter to produce biogas. The raw biogas is then captured inside the digester tanks. Once collected, it’s purified (or upgraded) into biomethane—also known as RNG.

FortisBC’s RNG program wouldn’t be possible without our partnerships with local farms, landfills and other suppliers—they’re key to its success.

Sarah Smith Director NGT, Regional LNG and RNG, FortisBC

A brief history of FortisBC’s RNG

In 2010, Fraser Valley Biogas became the first RNG supplier to introduce RNG into our system. Fast forward to 2018—we now have five suppliers that together can produce approximately 295,000 GJ of RNG per year. That’s the equivalent of using 100 per cent RNG to heat about 3,278 homes for a year.

In 2011, we became the first utility in North America to offer RNG to its customers. We began offering a 10 per cent blend in a two-year pilot program. Since then, more than 10,500 FortisBC residential and business customers have discovered how easy it is to use RNG. RNG works the same way as conventional natural gas, so it blends seamlessly into our system. No equipment conversion is required.

In 2013, a permanent program was established. We introduced the option of designating 5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 per cent of the natural gas customers receive as RNG. Our RNG customers are helping keep organic waste out of landfills and helping to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) that go into the atmosphere.

When Offsetters, Canada’s leading carbon management solutions provider, independently reviewed FortisBC’s RNG, they confirmed that it meets the requirements to be designated carbon neutral in B.C.

Pete Schouten, owner Fraser Valley Biogas

We’re proud to be the first to produce RNG in B.C. One of our core values on our farm is ‘There’s always a better way.’ I think we’ve achieved that with RNG.

Pete Schouten Owner Fraser Valley Biogas

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