Anaerobic digesters capture methane from dairy farms that is turned into renewable natural gas for local consumers.
RICHMOND, Va. – Dominion Energy and Vanguard Renewables have announced a more than US$200 million strategic partnership to convert methane from U.S. dairy farms into clean, renewable natural gas (RNG) that can heat homes, power businesses and fuel vehicles.
Multiple projects are under development in Georgia, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah with additional projects planned. Under the strategic partnership, Dominion Energy will own the projects and market the RNG, and Vanguard Renewables’ subsidiary Clean Energy Investment USA dba Vanguard Renewables Ag will design, develop and operate the projects.
A typical dairy waste-to-energy project consists of a cluster of multiple farms totaling 20,000 to 30,000 dairy cows. The methane produced from dairy manure is captured through a process known as Farm Powered anaerobic digestion and is then transported through low-pressure gathering lines to a central conditioning facility. Once the gas is processed and cleaned of any impurities, it is then delivered to local consumers through the existing underground distribution network.
“Through our strategic partnership with Vanguard Renewables and our strategic alliance with Dairy Farmers of America, we’re rapidly accelerating the development of these transformational projects and for the first time on a nationwide scale,” said Diane Leopold, Dominion Energy’s co-chief operating officer.
“The environmental, consumer and agricultural benefits of these projects are truly groundbreaking. We’re substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. dairy farms, delivering new sources of clean energy to U.S. consumers and providing a new source of long-term revenue for family farmers across the country.”
Dominion Energy has the fourth largest U.S. solar fleet and the largest offshore wind project in the U.S. under development along the coast of Virginia. The company has joined forces with Smithfield Foods to form the largest agricultural-based renewable natural gas partnership in the U.S., with $500 million committed over 10 years to convert methane from U.S. hog farms into clean energy for local consumers.
Methane is produced from a variety of natural sources, including dairy, hog and food waste. When released into the atmosphere, methane emits approximately 25 times more greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide.
Dairy farming produces methane gas, which is being captured and turned into clean energy.
By capturing methane from U.S. dairy farms and converting it into RNG, Dominion Energy’s and Vanguard Renewables’ strategic partnership will reduce annual CO2 equivalent emissions by more than 450,000 metric tons, the same as taking nearly 100,000 cars off the road or planting 7.5 million new trees each year.
“Our multi-year alliance with Dairy Farmers of America demonstrates Vanguard Renewables’ commitment to working with the dairy community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance long-term operational and economic benefits for family farmers. For the first time, dairies across the country have partners with substantial financial resources and a deep understanding of the dairy industry working alongside them to take action now to solve these challenges,” said Kevin Chase, co-founder and chief investment officer of Vanguard Renewables and CEO of Vanguard Renewables Ag.
“This strategic partnership with Dominion Energy and DFA will have a meaningful impact on greenhouse gas sequestration and dairy waste-to-energy production that will significantly benefit the farm community and the environment.”
Vanguard Renewables Ag focuses on the development and operation of dairy waste-to-energy projects that improve manure and nutrient management and produce clean energy. Host farmers receive a new income stream and can remain focused on farm operations while Vanguard professionally develops and operates the on-farm facilities.