How can we create renewable energy from waste?

A family making dinner together while a boy placed kitchen scraps into a compost bin. (20-064.18)

Diversified energy sources are key to achieving our climate targets - like creating Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) from food scraps, wood waste, and wastewater and more.  We're building key partnerships with local farms, landfills, green energy companies and municipalities to make this possible.  Our existing natural gas infrastructure can provide British Columbians with lower carbon energy, like RNG. In 2020, we increased our supply of RNG by 30 per cent compared to 2019 levels. It's all part of our 30BY30 target and how we're rethinking a lower carbon future for BC.

Creating biogas from wood waste

Instead of burning our wood waste, we can reap a second harvest from it. Located near Fruitvale, BC, the REN Energy International Corp wood waste to RNG facility will be the first facility of its kind in North America. Using waste from forestry operations and sawmills, the project makes carbon-neutral RNG through a novel process that creates methane which can be used directly in the existing FortisBC natural gas system.

Being able to successfully harness wood waste as a feedstock for RNG will enable significant new volumes of renewable gas thanks to the province’s large forestry industry.

Renewing waste from wastewater

What if our wastewater didn't just go down the drain? In partnership with Metro Vancouver, the Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant uses anaerobic digestion. The organic matter, which is the wastewater, produces biogas which is upgraded into biomethane. This biomethane mixes seamlessly with conventional natural gas in existing natural gas lines to deliver carbon neutral energy throughout the province, a sustainable energy source for our customers. The first of its kind in BC, the Lulu Island facility will be a model that could be adopted for other wastewater plants in BC.

Tapping into landfills as a renewable energy resource

It sounds counterintuitive to suggest that a landfill might be able to reduce some of its harmful impact on the environment. But when life gives you garbage, the Vancouver Landfill captures the methane produced there and turns it into RNG. It’s a significant project, complementing the strong ongoing partnerships between the City of Vancouver and FortisBC. Another similar at the Hartland Landfill, highlights our collaborative efforts with the Capital Regional District. This will be the first source of RNG on Vancouver Island.

Exploring out-of-province renewable gas agreements

In addition to supporting a strong RNG industry in BC, we’ve also signed our first supplementary supply agreements to purchase RNG from Alberta and Ontario. Increasing the amount of RNG in our system is an important aspect of our 30BY30 target. We’ve committed to making 15 per cent of all natural gas in our system carbon neutral by 2030–aligning with the government’s CleanBC strategy. This is the first step towards gradually increasing the amount of carbon-neutral, renewable gas in our system – making the energy our natural gas system transports cleaner.

Making Renewable Natural Gas

Supporting RNG one customer at a time

See how you can sign up for RNG in the future and reduce your household greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Note: We have temporarily closed new subscriptions to all customers for our Renewable Natural Gas program. Existing residential and small commercial customers continue to receive RNG. We’re hoping to be able to accept new RNG customers in the latter half of 2021.

1 Renewable Natural Gas is produced in a different manner than conventional natural gas. It is typically derived from biogas, which is produced from decomposing organic waste from landfills, agricultural waste and wastewater from treatment facilities. The biogas is captured and cleaned to create carbon neutral Renewable Natural Gas (also called biomethane).