So, what is Renewable Natural Gas anyway?
We’re transforming BC’s energy future with Renewable Natural Gas1 (RNG), a low-carbon gas2 that puts waste to work. It's a low-carbon energy compared to conventional natural gas,3 and when added to the North American gas system, it can help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
RNG in a nutshell
When organic waste decomposes, it naturally releases biogas, a GHG containing carbon dioxide and methane, into the atmosphere. Before this biogas can escape as GHGs—here’s where we put the waste to work—our suppliers capture and purify it to create RNG. RNG is low carbon, meaning, that using RNG can reduce the amount of GHG emissions released into the atmosphere.
6 common questions and answers about RNG
You probably have questions. We’re here to help by answering the 6 common questions people have about RNG.
North America’s natural gas systems are all interconnected, so when RNG is injected into the gas system, it mixes with conventional natural gas. This means that we’re unable to direct RNG to a specific location. However, the more RNG that is added to the gas system, the less conventional natural gas is needed, thereby reducing the use of fossil fuels. Find out how RNG is delivered.
No. Fossil fuels like 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, uses GHG emissions from waste to create low-carbon energy that’s used instead of conventional natural gas. So, the more RNG we can make and use, the more homes and businesses can displace conventional natural gas and reduce their GHG emissions.
We partner with local farms, landfills and municipalities to create RNG from diverse sources. Check out our current and upcoming RNG suppliers.
We’re progressing towards our 2050 vision to replace 75 per cent of the natural gas running through our system with low-carbon and renewable gases. In fact, we tripled our supply of RNG in our system in 2022. Today, our natural gas customers can sign up to choose RNG for all, or a portion of their energy use.
A recent report commissioned by the province, FortisBC and the BC Bioenergy Network reveals that by 2050, BC’s maximum potential of renewable and low-carbon gases could be as high as 440 petajoules (PJ) per year—around twice the province’s current gas use.
Decarbonizing our gas system is the right thing to do for our customers. 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:
- Sustainable energy solutions for a better BC
- How we’re transforming BC’s energy for a cleaner tomorrow
- 5 climate action steps we took in 2021 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- 5 reasons we’re investing in our gas system to support BC’s lower-carbon future
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 low-carbon Renewable Natural Gas (also called biomethane).
2,3FortisBC uses the term renewable and low-carbon 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 (from wood waste) and lignin. FortisBC’s renewable and low-carbon portfolio currently includes only Renewable Natural Gas. Other gases and fuels may be added to the program over time. Depending on their source, all of these gases have differing levels of lifecycle carbon intensity. However, all of these gases are low-carbon when compared to the lifecycle carbon intensity of conventional natural gas. The current burner tip carbon intensity of RNG is 0.29gCO2e/MJ and the current RNG portfolio lifecycle emissions are -22gCO2e/MJ. This is below B.C.’s carbon intensity threshold for low-carbon gases of 36.4 gCO2e/MJ set out in the 2021 B.C. Hydrogen Strategy.