Salmon Arm’s landfill is now more than just a place to store waste, it will now capture and upgrade biogas derived from regional waste and deliver it into the local natural gas distribution system as a renewable source of energy, the first of its kind in British Columbia. The commissioning of the landfill biogas plant comes after three months of on-site commissioning and years of planning.
“This project benefits our customers by not only expanding our availability of renewable natural gas but ensuring that waste is put to good use,” said Doug Stout, vice president of external relations and energy efficiency.
The project began in 2011 after FortisBC received approval from the British Columbia Utilities Commission. The landfill is owned and operated by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), and support was provided for the project through grants from the BC Bioenergy Network and the Province of BC’s Innovative Clean Energy Fund (ICE Fund).
“This is the first project in British Columbia to recover raw biogas from a landfill and upgrade it to pipeline quality renewable natural gas,” says Shuswap MLA George Abbott. “Through ICE Fund investment in projects like this, it is possible to protect the environment while meeting the energy needs of British Columbians.”
The biogas, which is given off naturally through the decaying process of waste, is captured, purified and injected into Fortis BC’s natural gas system for use by customers.
The system is expected to initially save about 1,250 tonnes of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere per year, the equivalent of taking 250 cars off the road annually.
Natural gas produced from the Salmon Arm landfill has the potential to heat almost 300 homes per year.
“We are committed to being a carbon neutral jurisdiction, and this project helps us achieve that,” said David Raven, CSRD board chair. “We’ve created a model that can not only be used across B.C. but across Canada as well.”
FortisBC’s biogas plant will scrub out the impurities in the gas to make it usable by customers. Once upgraded, there is no difference between renewable natural gas from the landfill and natural gas that is delivered to people’s homes.
Residents and businesses can reduce their carbon footprint and support renewable energy by having a portion of their natural gas consumption dedicated as renewable.
For more information, contact FortisBC at 1-888-224-2710 or visit www.fortisbc.com/rng.