Kelowna company behind facility producing renewable natural gas from wood waste

Natural gas from wood waste

A Kelowna-based company has signed an agreement with FortisBC to provide the utility with renewable natural gas gathered through the forest sector.

The production facility located in Fruitvale will create natural gas through through the gasification of waste from forestry operations, sawmills and other wood product manufacturers. The technology will create a use for forest waste and create the potential for “significant new volumes” of renewable natural gas in B.C.

“We are extremely pleased with our FortisBC agreement spanning 20 years, to provide RNG to our fellow BC customers,” said Philip Viggiani, president of REN Energy. 

“REN Energy plans to be a major factor in assisting with the FortisBC mandate of creating carbon-neutral RNG. The REN team has been working for the past several years to create the REN Solution that creates RNG from wood waste.”

The plant will be the first of its kind in North America and will created “an immediate annual economic impact in the Kootenay region,” added Viggiani.

“This is such an exciting win for us. This and future projects like it will rely on waste already generated by sustainable forestry, making it a credible addition to energy production in this province,” said Doug Stout, vice-president of market development and external relations at FortisBC. 

“I’d like to thank REN Energy and the community of Fruitvale for their partnership as we continue to work hard to reduce emissions and advance towards a lower carbon future.”

The project received regulatory approval from the British Columbia Utilities Commission last month and is expected to be in service in the summer of 2021. It is anticipated to produce over one million gigajoules of RNG annually, which would make it the largest source of RNG in the province to date. 

FortisBC says RNG “blends seamlessly” with conventional natural gas in the utility’s existing infrastructure.

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