So, what is Renewable Natural Gas anyway?
Renewable Natural Gas1 (RNG) puts waste to work. It’s derived from decomposing organic waste, making it carbon neutral and not a fossil fuel. It's a sustainable energy that’s key to a lower-carbon future for BC. When added to our system and used instead of conventional natural gas, it helps reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
RNG in a nutshell
When organic waste like rotting food, waste water, landfill waste or cow manure decomposes, it naturally releases biogas, a powerful GHG containing carbon dioxide and methane, into the atmosphere. But before this biogas can escape as GHGs—here’s where we put the waste to work—our partner suppliers capture and purify it to create RNG. Better yet, RNG is certified carbon neutral. This means that using RNG instead of conventional natural gas reduces the amount of GHG emissions released into the atmosphere.
5 common questions (and answers that might surprise you) about RNG
You might have questions. Here are answers to our five most frequently asked ones.
Is RNG a fossil fuel?
No. Fossil fuels such as conventional natural gas, oil and coal, come from the earth’s crust and add GHG emissions into the atmosphere through their extraction and use. RNG, however, doesn’t add additional GHG emissions into the atmosphere. Rather, RNG uses GHG emissions from waste to create a carbon-neutral energy that’s used instead of conventional natural gas. Better yet, the more RNG we can make and use, the less conventional natural gas we’ll use. In other words, we decarbonize the gas system.
Who supplies RNG?
We partner with local farms, landfills, green energy companies and municipalities to create carbon-neutral RNG from diverse sources. Check out our current and upcoming RNG suppliers.
If I sign up for RNG, will I need new appliances and equipment?
No. One of the great things about RNG is that it works the same way as conventional natural gas, so you can use your existing natural gas equipment and appliances. Consider signing up today—it’s easy. And it’s affordable.
How does FortisBC plan to replace conventional natural gas in its system?
We’re progressing towards our 2050 goal to replace 75 per cent of the natural gas running through our system with renewable gases.2 This includes RNG as well as other low-carbon or renewable gases like hydrogen. In fact, we’re on track to triple our current supply of RNG by the end of 2022. Today, our natural gas customers can sign up to choose RNG for all, or a portion of their conventional natural gas use.
What are other experts saying about the potential for RNG and renewable gas?
A recent report commissioned by the province, FortisBC and the BC Bioenergy Network reveals that by 2050, the maximum potential of renewable and low-carbon gases could be as high as 440 petajoules (PJ) per year—roughly double what currently flows through our gas system annually.
Decarbonizing our gas system is the right thing to do for our customers and doing it also supports the Province of BC’s climate action plans such as the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, as well as the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Want to learn more?
Check out a few of our blog posts about RNG:
- 5 reasons we’re investing in our gas system to support BC’s lower-carbon future
- 5 exciting ways we’re getting renewable energy from waste
- A little less conversation, a little more (climate) action
- A renewable focus for FortisBC
1Renewable Natural Gas is produced in a different manner than conventional natural gas. It’s derived from biogas, which is produced from decomposing organic waste from landfills, agricultural waste and waste water from treatment facilities.
The biogas is captured and cleaned to create carbon-neutral Renewable Natural Gas (also called biomethane).
2FortisBC uses the term renewable gas to refer collectively to the low-carbon gases or fuels that the utility can acquire under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Clean Energy) Regulation, which are: Renewable Natural Gas (RNG or biomethane), hydrogen, synthesis gas and lignin.