REN Energy will source waste wood from ATCO Wood Products and other forest companies to create Renewable Natural Gas in a new facility planned for Park Siding just outside of Fruitvale. (Townsman file photo)

REN Energy will source waste wood from ATCO Wood Products and other forest companies to create Renewable Natural Gas in a new facility planned for Park Siding just outside of Fruitvale. (Townsman file photo)

Renewable Natural Gas facility targeted for small B.C. town

Once in a lifetime thing, it doesn’t happen in small communities very often, says Fruitvale mayor.

The West Kootenay Village of Fruitvale will be the site of a new state-of-the-art natural gas facility.

FortisBC is partnering with REN Energy International Corporation (REN Energy) to create Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) from wood waste sourced from Fruitvale’s ATCO Wood Products and other Kootenay forestry companies.

“The Village of Fruitvale is beyond excited,” said Fruitvale mayor Steve Morissette. “It’s a once in a lifetime thing, it doesn’t happen in small communities very often. It will offer good paying jobs and there’ll be plant operators, process operators, and typically fork lift drivers, and wood managers.”

The proposed site for the facility is at the old Park Siding ATCO mill about 6 km from Fruitvale in southeastern BC. The project will offer about 18 months of construction jobs and, once construction is complete, the plant will employ 30-35 local workers.

Previous: Fruitvale company named top B.C. Exporter of the Year

Previous: Fruitvale mill affected by market downturn

According to FortisBC Supply Manager Scott Gramm, Fortis will buy the gas generated by the facility and tap into its pipeline that runs near the Park Siding property.

“REN Energy chose that location because it was a source of wood waste and close to our pipeline at the same time,” said Gramm. “We’re talking like 300-metres from our transmission pipeline, it’s nice and close – so acceptable wood waste, acceptable pipeline.”

REN Energy is a global company whose goal is to reduce waste and improve the environment through the development of sustainable, clean fuel-based projects. REN seeks out opportunities to create partnerships with municipalities like Fruitvale and regional districts, forestry industry operators like ATCO, and financial partners like FortisBC to create essentially zero-emission energy products like RNG.

“The plant, the first of its kind in North America, will create an immediate annual economic impact in the Kootenay region,” said Philip Viggiani, president of REN Energy in a release. “As well, our future waste-to-energy project regions will carry similar economic impacts in regard to the creation of hundreds of direct and indirect jobs, significant in-community investments and, of course, the clean energy product we create.”

RNG is a carbon-neutral energy that is made from capturing the methane released from decomposing organic waste.

The project will make use of waste from forestry operations, sawmills and other wood product manufacturers and will speed up the natural process by creating syngas through gasification. The syngas is further converted to methane and then purified to meet natural gas line specifications.

The output is expected to be substantial, and FortisBC estimates over one million gigajoules of energy will be created annually from the facility.

“The average household uses about 90-ish,” explained Gramm. “So we’re talking enough gas to sustain 10,000 to 12,000 homes annually.”

The construction on the facility will begin in the fall, and is expected to be up and running in late 2021, early 2022, says Gramm.

Once operational, the technology will create a use for forestry waste in B.C. and unlock the potential for significant new volumes of RNG in the province.

“We are extremely pleased with our FortisBC agreement spanning 20 years, to provide RNG to our fellow B.C. customers,” said Viggiani. “REN Energy plans to be a major factor in assisting with the FortisBC mandate of creating carbon-neutral RNG.”

When economically feasible, REN Energy intends to benefit both the province and the forestry industry by cleaning up and processing brush piles, and thereby mitigate potential forest fires.

Furthermore, the REN facility will create a market for local forest companies in a time when they need it most.

“It will for sure help our forest industry,” said Morissette. “It will help ILMA – the Interior Lumber Manufacturers’ Association – because they (REN) will be sourcing a lot of the waste wood from them.”

The ground-breaking project’s use of carbon-neutral energies is a crucial element of FortisBC’s 30BY30 target.

The goal is to reduce customers’ greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. FortisBC is also working towards having 15 per cent of its natural gas supply be renewable by 2030, which is in line with commitments outlined in the Province’s CleanBC promise 30-30.

To read the latest COVID-19 news click here: Trail Times COVID news



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

British ColumbiaClimate changeColumbia BasinforestryKootenay Boundary Regional District

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Vernon man's faith in humanity has been restored since his lost wallet was returned, credit cards, cash and all, to the RCMP station. (Contributed)
Good Samaritan turns in cash-filled wallet to Vernon Mounties

Owner’s faith in humanity restored following a tough few weeks

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a single-vehicle rollover Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, after a vehicle came into contact with a pedestrian light pole at Kalamalka Lake Road and 14th Avenue. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Minor injuries in rollover after vehicle hits Vernon crosswalk pole

The vehicle flipped onto its side, closing Kalamalka Lake Road

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

A petition to spare the Mount Rose Swanson area from logging later this year has eclipsed 21,000 signatures as of Jan. 20, 2021. (Rose Swanson Mountain/Facebook)
Controversial logging will cut 4% of ‘sensitive’ Armstrong forest area: Ministry

A petition to spare the Rose Swanson area from logging has eclipsed 21,000 signatures

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

Canada Post had remove a lot of letter boxes around Penticton after they were vandalized. This letter box at the United Church on Main St. remains unscathed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Street mailbox vandals strike Penticton drop boxes

Canada Post had to remove a bunch of the vandalized units

Esa Carriere, 23, was the victim of a 2018 Canada Day homicide. (File)
Youth sentenced in Kelowna Canada Day killing

Young woman pleaded guilty to lesser assault charge, sentenced to 15-month intensive support and supervision program

A rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)
Kelowna’s new downtown campus to help alleviate UBCO’s space crunch

The sizable development is anticipated to be completed by the fall 2024 semester

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Most Read