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FortisBC to purchase renewable natural gas generated from B.C. landfill

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Hartland Landfill facility

FortisBC has been given the green light to purchase the renewable natural gas (RNG) generated from the Hartland Landfill used by Victoria, B.C. by the Capital Regional District (CRD). The announcement was made on Earth Day, April 22.

The project is expected to reduce the region’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by around 264,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the project’s 25-year lifespan. This would be the equivalent of removing 2,240 cars from the road for that period.

“Climate action and environmental stewardship are embedded in the CRD’s strategic priorities, committing the CRD to take a leadership role pursuing carbon neutrality,” said Colin Plant, CRD board chair. “This Earth Day, we are sharing this significant move forward in our commitment to this goal – working alongside local governments to further reduce emissions and explore new resource recovery opportunities are key initiatives associated with this priority. The GHG analysis clearly points to upgrading landfill gas to Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) as the best decision for the climate.”

The agreement would allow FortisBC to purchase between 140,000 gigajoules to 280,000 gigajoules each year for 25 years, starting in late 2021.

RNG is a carbon-neutral energy made from capturing and upgrading the biogas released from decomposing organic waste in a landfill. It is blended with conventional natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Despite the COVID-19 public health emergency, we are no less driven to safely and affordably reduce GHG emissions. Ongoing commitment towards a lower carbon future remains a key focus at FortisBC,” said Doug Stout, vice-president of market development and external relations with FortisBC.

“I’d like to thank the teams at FortisBC and the Capital Regional District for their collaboration in completing this important application and another positive step forward in achieving provincial GHG reductions.”

In 2004, Hartland’s landfill gas-to-electricity plant began using landfill gas for green power generation and currently supplies electricity to around 1,600 homes in the region.

Two options were evaluated: expanding the existing power generation equipment to sell more electricity to BC Hydro, or installing a biogas upgrading facility at Hartland Landfill to upgrade biogas to RNG.

A lifecycle greenhouse gas assessment of the two alternatives found that upgrading landfill gas to RNG will reduce the region’s GHG emissions by around 264,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is a significant improvement over the first scenario, which would result in only 2,800 tonnes reduction.

The CRD and FortisBC are working on a supply contract that will be submitted to the British Columbia Utilities Commission for approval. If approved, the CRD will continue to be responsible for the ownership and operation of the landfill site, the gas collection system, and the upgrade of the facility.

FortisBC will pay a fixed price per gigajoule for the RNG and will be responsible for the costs associated with injecting RNG into its natural gas distribution system.

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