To help meet public demand for more renewable energy, FortisBC Energy Inc. is now receiving carbon-neutral Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) from Lethbridge Biogas LP. Following expansion of their facility to add a biogas upgrading system, Lethbridge Biogas signed an agreement to provide FortisBC with up to 350,000 gigajoules of RNG annually. This is FortisBC’s third source of RNG from outside of the province to date as the company continues to add new volumes of renewable gases and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Greenhouse gases don’t recognize provincial borders, so our efforts to combat them shouldn’t be limited by geographical borders either. That’s why, while we continue to develop local sources of RNG, we’re also searching for opportunities to bring more RNG supply into our system from outside of the province,” explained David Bennett, director of renewable gas and low carbon fuels with FortisBC. “Not only are we continuing to increase the amount of RNG in our system, we’re now working with a fellow RNG forerunner in Lethbridge Biogas. It’s an exciting time for us.”
When bacteria breaks down organic waste from sources such as landfill sites, agricultural waste and wastewater from treatment facilities, it produces a biogas mostly made of methane. FortisBC can capture and purify this biogas to create RNG, a carbon-neutral energy source, rather than releasing methane into the environment. As RNG mixes seamlessly into the existing natural gas infrastructure, it displaces equivalent volumes of conventional natural gas and lowers greenhouse gas emissions overall.
“RNG has become a highly sought-after commodity to reduce the carbon footprint in the natural gas supply chain. We are extremely thrilled about the opportunity to be part of FortisBC’s RNG supply system,” said Lethbridge Biogas director of operations Stefan Michalski. “This is a significant milestone for us, as we finally see full recognition for the value our facility provides in the context of environmental sustainability and greenhouse gas reductions. This allows us to expand on future feedstock opportunities and to offer reliable disposal options for organic waste in the region for decades to come.”
Lethbridge Biogas has been a pioneer in biogas development, and has been operating its anaerobic digestion facility with a processing capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year since late 2013. In 2017, Lethbridge Biogas commissioned a thermal hydrolysis system, approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, as a commercial application which provides unique disposal services for animal by-products including Specified Risk Material. From 2020 to 2021, Lethbridge Biogas added a biogas upgrading system to be able to produce RNG for grid injection. The facility is the largest agricultural based biogas facility in Western Canada and is unique in terms of design and scope all over North America.
Advancing carbon-neutral energies such as RNG is a crucial element of FortisBC’s 30BY30 target – the organization’s goal to reduce its customers’ greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. As part of its 30BY30 target, FortisBC is also working towards having 15 per cent of its natural gas supply be renewable by 2030, which is in line with commitments outlined in the Province’s CleanBC plan.