Fortis BC seeks biogas supply innovators

FortisBC is seeking expressions of interest from potential biomethane suppliers for its renewable natural gas program

FortisBC is seeking expressions of interest from potential biomethane suppliers for its renewable natural gas program.

The call for applicants will help grow the province’s supply of this renewable and carbon neutral energy source. The company is seeking interest from suppliers for an additional supply of up to one petajoule, or enough natural gas to provide heat and hot water for approximately 10,000 homes annually.

“Demand from our renewable natural gas customers has resulted in the need for further biogas supply in our system,” said Doug Stout, vice-president of energy solutions and external relations.

“Our focus is to help put waste to good use by working with suppliers to develop this energy source for our customers.”

Biogas is created when bacteria break down organic waste from sources such as landfill sites, agriculture waste and wastewater from treatment facilities. It is captured, purified and then injected into FortisBC’s natural gas system for customers.

FortisBC is seeking submissions from sewer treatment plants, landfills, farm operators and other agricultural businesses, food and beverage processing businesses and entrepreneurs who can facilitate the development of biogas production from organic material sources.

Stout says capturing and using biomethane, which is the purified natural gas derived from biogas, significantly reduces greenhouse gases over simply allowing it to vent directly into the atmosphere, as is traditionally done at waste sites.

Upgrading this biogas to pipeline-quality biomethane provides the additional benefit of replacing traditionally sourced natural gas for FortisBC customers.

Two projects are currently supplying biomethane to FortisBC’s system, with five others under development or construction. Projects currently supplying biogas to FortisBC are Fraser Valley Biogas in Abbotsford and the Salmon Arm landfill.

Kelowna’s Glenmore landfill is expected to begin supplying natural gas this year following the completion of construction.

FortisBC has offered renewable natural gas to customers since 2011.

Eligible residential and business customers have the option of designating a percentage of natural gas usage as renewable. FortisBC then injects an equivalent amount of renewable natural gas into its distribution system. The gas is also carbon neutral, which means it is exempt from B.C.’s carbon tax.

Those interested in supplying biomethane can submit an expression of interest application by May 30 outlining their plans and associated costs for biogas collection and upgrading.