FortisBC is teaming up with REN Energy International Corporation (REN Energy) to offer renewable natural gas produced from wood waste to its customers. The innovative project features technology being used for the first time in North America and represents exciting new opportunities to reduce emissions using British Columbia’s (BC) expansive forestry sector. The production facility will be owned and operated by REN Energy and located near Fruitvale, BC.
“We are extremely pleased with our FortisBC agreement spanning 20 years, to provide renewable natural gas to our fellow BC customers,” said Philip Viggiani, president of REN Energy. “We plan to be a major factor in assisting with the FortisBC mandate of creating carbon-neutral renewable natural gas. Our team has been working for the past several years to create the REN Solution that creates biomethane from wood waste. The plant, the first of its kind in North America, will create an immediate annual economic impact in the Kootenay region, as well our future waste-to-energy project regions will carry similar economic impacts in regard to the creation of hundreds of direct and indirect jobs, significant in-community investments and, of course, the clean energy product we create.”
This project will make use of waste from forestry operations, sawmills and other wood product manufacturers and, rather than collecting the methane from decomposition, would create syngas through gasification. The syngas is further converted to methane and then purified to meet natural gas line specifications. Once operational, the technology will create a use for forestry waste in BC and unlock the potential for significant new volumes of renewable natural gas in BC. This will also assist the forestry industry with cleaning up bush residuals, thereby assisting in provincial forest fire mitigation.
“This and future projects like it will rely on waste already generated by sustainable forestry, making it a credible addition to energy production in this province,” said Doug Stout, vice-president of market development and external relations at FortisBC.
The project received regulatory approval from the British Columbia Utilities Commission last month and is expected to be in service in the summer of 2021. It is anticipated to produce over one million gigajoules of renewable natural gas annually, which would make it the largest source of biomethane in the province to date.
Source: Fortis BC