From a small start in Ontario, Enbridge Inc. has embarked on a Canada-wide campaign to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) on a large scale from trash rotting in waste dumps.

Enbridge renewable natural gas

The Calgary pipeline and gas distribution conglomerate said Wednesday it is partnering on an RNG project development partnership with waste management firm Walker Industries and renewable energy specialist Comcor Environmental.

“RNG presents a tremendous opportunity,” said Enbridge Vice President Cynthia Hansen, who heads natural gas distribution and storage. 

[Climate Check: Tune into NGI’s Hub & Flow podcast about President Biden’s climate commitments and how that might affect the U.S. natural gas industry.]

Drawing on research by the Canadian Gas Association, Enbridge estimated that more than 10,000 landfill sites across the country could support more than 33 petajoules/year (31 Bcf/year) of RNG output

The firm’s first foray into gas billed as carbon-neutral is under development in the Niagara region of southern Ontario with a production target of about 650 MMcf/d beginning in 2022.

The Canadian government’s target of net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 has heightened industry interest in RNG

A plethora of RNG projects is in operation or underway in the United States too.

The goal spawns offsets against continuing emissions that improve environmental report cards and can be sold. RNG earns green credit as methane that would otherwise leak from landfill sites.

Hansen said the Niagara RNG facility project “will generate enough clean energy to heat 8,750 homes and reduce GHG emissions by 48,000 tons per year.”

Federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan praised Enbridge for acting on the government’s energy cleanup goal: “Renewable natural gas is a low-carbon fuel that will help us get to net-zero.”

In related news, British Columbia RNG developer EverGen announced a 20-year contract Thursday to supply distributor FortisBC with up to 475 gigajoules/day (450 MMBtu/d).

The deal calls for the RNG to come from a plant that EverGen is seeking approval to build in 2022 on an organic waste site at Abbotsford, 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Vancouver.

FortisBC made the deal as part of an environmental fuel program, which is targeting RNG to become 30% of the fuel in its distribution network by 2030.