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Metro Vancouver and FortisBC announce formal collaboration on climate action

Mar 15, 2021

B.C.’s First Renewable Natural Gas from Wastewater Facility in Production Next Month

Today, Metro Vancouver and FortisBC Energy Inc. announced they've agreed to work together to achieve regional climate-action goals, and showcase a new facility that will recover more energy from liquid wastewater treatment.

The new Lulu Island Renewable Natural Gas Facility, located in Richmond, B.C., at Metro Vancouver’s Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant site, now allows the unused biogas to be cleaned, stored and sold to purchasers such as FortisBC as Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). Renewable Natural Gas can blend seamlessly in existing gas infrastructure running throughout the province. As a low carbon substitute, increasing the amount of RNG in the FortisBC natural gas system helps reduce net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions versus conventional natural gas.

Biogas is generated as a byproduct of the liquid wastewater treatment process, and some biogas from this facility has been used as a fuel for indoor heating and plant processes for many years. The new facility cleans biogas from the plant using a water-based scrubbing technology that’s self-contained to make it pipeline ready for FortisBC’s natural gas system.

“Metro Vancouver and FortisBC both recognize the importance of partnerships and co-investment in the development of projects that support the region’s resilience and low-carbon future,” said Sav Dhaliwal, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors. “This facility will produce enough renewable natural gas to heat more than 600 homes, and we anticipate that production will increase as the region’s population grows.”

“Metro Vancouver will reinvest some of the revenue from the sale of renewable natural gas into projects that will increase the amount of unused biogas available,” said Richard Stewart, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Liquid Waste Committee. “This will allow the plant to clean and sell more renewable natural gas in the future, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the region.”

FortisBC is working to source enough carbon-neutral Renewable Natural Gas to make up 15 per cent of its overall natural gas supply by 2030 as part of their 30BY30 target, thereby in a concerted effort to reduce their customers’ GHG emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. This is in line with the GHG emissions commitments outlined by the B.C. government in its CleanBC promise.

“By partnering with government and industry, FortisBC continues to innovate in the renewable gases space,” said Joe Mazza, Vice-President of Energy Supply and Resource Development at FortisBC. “We’ve been delivering renewable natural gas for over a decade and it’s an excellent example of a renewable energy that can be delivered through our gas infrastructure.”

Metro Vancouver and FortisBC have agreed to support four major environmental initiatives:

  • enhancing renewable energy supply and usage,
  • improving local air quality,
  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transportation; and,
  • supporting high-performance buildings and industrial facilities through energy efficiency and conservation, renewable gas use and innovation.

Metro Vancouver and FortisBC will jointly explore opportunities to collaborate on climate-action initiatives that are effective, ambitious and equitable, while supporting innovation, safety, reliability and affordability.

FortisBC’s 30BY30 target is to reduce customers’ greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent from 2007 levels by the year 2030. Additionally, FortisBC's Clean Growth Pathway to 2050 plan includes further solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution through energy efficiency and conservation, investment in electric vehicle infrastructure, the use of natural gas for transportation and liquefied natural gas marine fuelling, in addition to increasing renewable gas supply.

“Working directly with local governments allows us to help meet the energy needs of our customers in the communities we serve and while harnessing the decarbonization potential of our energy systems,” said Doug Slater, Vice-President of External and Indigenous Relations. “The document we’ve signed with Metro Vancouver sets the stage for us to demonstrate what we can do when we’re able to collaborate on emissions reduction, and we look forward to working with Metro Vancouver to meet our shared goals.”

Metro Vancouver is implementing the Climate 2050 Strategy, which contains a vision of a resilient, carbon-neutral future for the region. This initiative targets a 45-per-cent reduction in regional greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 2010 levels, and aims to achieve regional carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We are committed to reducing emissions and achieving our climate goals of regional carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Adriane Carr, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Climate Action Committee. “Renewable natural gas is an innovative energy solution that will help sustain our region’s growing population.”

More information on the Lulu Island Renewable Natural Gas Facility can be found on Metro Vancouver’s website.

 

Media contact

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Metro Vancouver Media Contact:

Niki Reitmayer, Senior Media Relations Strategist, 604.451.6697, niki.reitmayer@metrovancouver.org

FortisBC Media Contact:

Diana Sorace, Corporate Communications Advisor, 604.328.0790, diana.sorace@fortisbc.com

Metro Vancouver is a federation of 21 municipalities, one Electoral Area and one Treaty First Nation that collaboratively plans for and delivers regional-scale services. Its core services are drinking water, wastewater treatment and solid waste management. Metro Vancouver also regulates air quality, plans for urban growth, manages a regional parks system and provides affordable housing. The regional district is governed by a Board of Directors of elected officials from each local authority.

FortisBC Energy Inc. is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, propane and thermal energy solutions. FortisBC Energy Inc. employs more than 1,800 British Columbians and serves approximately 1,054,097 customers in 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC Energy Inc. owns and operates approximately 49,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Energy Inc. is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. FortisBC uses the FortisBC name and logo under license from Fortis Inc. For further information visit www.fortisinc.com.