Salmon Arm landfill begins producing renewable natural gas for FortisBC customers

First of its kind project estimated to save up to 1,250 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year

SALMON ARM, BC, Nov. 19, 2012 /CNW/ - 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. "With the successful opening of the Salmon Arm landfill biogas plant, we're excited to be moving forward with similar projects across the province."

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," said 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 FortisBC's natural gas system for use by customers. The displacement of fossil fuel with renewable natural gas, a carbon neutral source of energy, 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 total 25,000 GJs annually, the estimated equivalent of heating almost 300 homes per year.

"BC Bioenergy funds best-in-class, first time demonstration biomass energy projects that can be replicated across the province - and this project ticks all the boxes," said Michael Weedon, executive director with the BC Bioenergy Network. "FortisBC and the CSRD have shown how we can both reduce methane emissions and create a clean renewable gas supply for the province of British Columbia."

"We are committed to being a carbon neutral jurisdiction, and this project helps us achieve that," said David Raven, board chair of the CSRD. "We've created a model that can not only be used across British Columbia 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.

Renewable natural gas is carbon neutral, and therefore customers who sign up receive a credit on B.C.'s carbon tax. Residents and businesses can reduce their carbon footprint and support renewable energy in B.C. by having a portion of their natural gas consumption dedicated as renewable by contacting FortisBC at 1-888-224-2710 or visiting their website at fortisbc.com/rng.

FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, propane and thermal energy solutions. FortisBC employs more than 2,300 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in more than 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC is indirectly wholly owned by Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. FortisBC owns and operates four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines and approximately 47,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc., FortisBC Energy Inc., FortisBC Energy (Vancouver Island) Inc., and FortisBC Energy (Whistler) Inc. do business as FortisBC. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.

SOURCE: FortisBC

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