FortisBC plans to offer renewable natural gas produced from wood waste to customers as early as next year.
The utility announced a new 20-year partnership with REN Energy International Corporation Thursday, April 30, for a project involving technology never before used in North America.
A production facility located near Fruitvale, B.C. will be owned and operated by REN Energy as part of the project.
Renewable natural gas is a carbon-neutral energy commonly generated by capturing methane released from decomposing organic waste. FortisBC’s project will use waste from forestry operations, sawmills and other wood product manufacturers.
“We are extremely pleased with our FortisBC agreement spanning 20 years, to provide RNG to our fellow B.C. customers,” said Philip Viggiani, president of REN Energy.
Viggiani said the production facility will provide an economic boost in the Kootenay region in the form of, “hundreds of direct and indirect jobs,” as well as in-community investments.
“And, of course, the clean energy product we create.”
Once operational, FortisBC said the facility will create a new use for forestry waste and help clean up bush residuals—effectively serving as forest fire mitigation in the province.
For Doug Stout, vice-president of market development at FortisBC, the project marks the beginning of a, “credible addition to energy production in the province,” since it relies on waste already generated by the forestry industry.
“I’d like to thank REN Energy and the community of Fruitvale for their partnership as we continue to work hard to reduce emissions and advance towards a lower carbon future,” said Stout.
The project was granted regulatory approval from the British Columbia Utilities Commission last month and is expected to be in service in the summer of 2021.
As a carbon-neutral form of energy, renewable natural gas production helps FortisBC move closer to its 30BY30 target – the organization’s goal to reduce customers’ greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.
FortisBC expects the project to produce over one million gigajoules of renewable natural gas annually, making it the largest source of RNG in B.C. to date.