FEATURE // REnEWAblE EnERgy Digestion tunnel doors inside the surrey Biofuel Facility’s main organic waste receiving hall. (City of surrey) Western Energy / Fall 2017 / westernenergy.org/we “Really, what we’re doing here is allowing the City of Surrey to use our distribution infrastructure to reduce their costs and risks, and manage variations in RNG volume. Some days they’ll produce more RNG than they can consume, and some days they’ll produce less. By putting the RNG they produce into our pipelines, they avoid having to store or sell their surplus, which can be very complicated to manage.” Scott says his team is proud to partner with the City of Surrey on this innovative project, which will significantly reduce the city’s corporate carbon footprint. “They’ve been great to work with — they’ve been really committed to their vision, and our RNG team at FortisBC worked hard to help make it happen. It’s a real customer service success story.” Other FortisBC biogas suppliers include the Salmon Arm and Glenmore landfills, Fraser Valley Biogas (which uses waste from their potato farm and potato chip production to create biogas) and Seabreeze Dairy farm (which uses its cow manure and organic waste from local businesses to create biogas). Bringing on more biogas suppliers means that FortisBC purchases less natural gas from conventional sources, which contributes to an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. So why doesn’t FortisBC simply get more biogas suppliers on board? “It takes a long time to get suppliers up and running,” Scott says. “We began discussions with Rob Costanzo, the City of Surrey engineering operations manager, in 2011. And now, almost seven years later, the Surrey Biofuel Facility is operational. It’s taken a lot of work from the city, and from our team at FortisBC to make this happen.” FortisBC is seeking new suppliers to meet increased demand for this sustainable energy source, and there are a few proposals for new biogas projects on the table. But creating high-quality RNG is a demanding process that requires a big, upfront investment, maintenance and rigorous testing. It’s not feasible for every farm and municipality to get in the game — though Scott’s team is working to increase supply as much as possible. “We’re really excited for the possibilities of RNG and we’re just getting started,” he said. To learn more about the Renewable Natural Gas Program, visit fortisbc.com/surreybiogas. Jasmine Demarcos is a 16 FortisBC contract writer and researcher with more than 18 years’ experience specializing in energy, environment and health issues.