Energy utility FortisBC is seeking expressions of interest from potential biomethane suppliers, such as landfills, for its renewable natural gas program.
The call for applicants will help grow British Columbia’s supply of this renewable and carbon neutral energy source. The company is seeking interest from suppliers for an additional supply of up to one petajoule, or enough natural gas to provide heat and hot water for approximately 10,000 homes annually.
"Demand from our renewable natural gas customers has resulted in the need for further biogas supply in our system," Doug Stout, VP of energy solutions and external relations, said in a statement. "Our focus is to help put waste to good use by working with suppliers to develop this energy source for our customers,” he added.
Biogas is created when bacteria break down organic waste from sources such as landfill sites, agriculture waste and wastewater from treatment facilities. It is captured, purified and then injected into FortisBC's natural gas system for customers.
The company is seeking submissions from:
- wastewater (sewage) treatment plants
- farm operators and other agricultural businesses
- food and beverage processing businesses
- entrepreneurs who can facilitate the development of biogas production from any of the above listed or other organic material sources.
Capturing and using biomethane, which is the purified natural gas derived from biogas, significantly reduces greenhouse gases over simply allowing it to vent directly into the atmosphere, as is traditionally done at waste sites. Upgrading this biogas to pipeline-quality biomethane provides the additional benefit of replacing traditionally sourced natural gas for FortisBC customers.
Two projects are currently supplying biomethane to FortisBC's system, with five others under development or construction. Projects currently supplying biogas to FortisBC are Fraser Valley Biogas in Abbotsford and the Salmon Arm Landfill. Currently under development are Seabreeze Farm in Delta, Dicklands Farms in Chilliwack, Earth Renu Energy in Delta and the Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Richmond. The Glenmore Landfill in Kelowna is expected to begin supplying natural gas this year following the completion of construction. The completion of these projects will mean that FortisBC will have an annual supply of up to about 500,000 gigajoules, enough to provide heat and hot water for approximately 5,000 homes.
FortisBC has offered renewable natural gas to customers since 2011. Eligible residential and business customers have the option of designating a percentage of natural gas usage as renewable. FortisBC then injects an equivalent amount of renewable natural gas into its distribution system. The gas is also carbon neutral, which means it is exempt from B.C.'s carbon tax. Residents and businesses wishing to have a portion of their natural gas consumption dedicated as renewable can contact FortisBC at 1-888-224-2710 or visit their website at fortisbc.com/rng.
Those interested in supplying biomethane are invited to submit an expression of interest application by May 30, 2014, outlining their plans and associated costs for biogas collection and upgrading. Applications are available at fortisbc.com/becomeasupplier or by emailing email@example.com.
FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity and propane. FortisBC employs more than 2,200 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC is indirectly wholly owned by Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. FortisBC owns and operates two liquefied natural gas storage facilities and four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,150 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines, and approximately 46,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc.,