B.C. Landfill Offset Project to Provide Green Energy

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Biomethane makes a landfill like this a source of energy and revenue.
(cc) Justin Ritchie

Pacific Carbon Trust and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District have forged an agreement on a landfill offset project that will convert methane into energy for B.C. homes, announced Pacific Carbon Trust CEO Scott MacDonald.

“The revenues from this offset project will help the Columbia Shuswap Regional District achieve its maximum economic potential in addition to the key benefits of better air quality and a cleaner environment,” said MacDonald. “This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how communities across B.C. can engage in the low-carbon economy.”

“The planned capping of the first phase of the Salmon Arm landfill provided the opportunity to explore an active landfill gas collection and destruction system in advance of the regulation,” said CSRD chair Ron Oszust. “The innovative partnerships formed between the CSRD, Terasen Gas, and Pacific Carbon Trust allows for the maximization of environmental protection and economic returns.”

The methane capture project is expected to generate 10,000 tonnes of offsets annually, equivalent to taking approximately 2,625 cars off the road for one year. Upgrading the landfill gas to pipeline quality natural gas through infrastructure supplied by Terasen Gas will generate between 20,000 – 35,000 Gj of energy per year – enough energy to supply heat and hot water needs to over 300 homes in the area. This will be Terasen’s first biomethane landfill project.

“The benefits of turning this potent greenhouse gas into cleaner energy instead of letting it leak into the environment are clear,” said Minister of State for Climate Action John Yap. “This is a highly effective way for the regional district to meet a provincial requirement for all large landfills to have their methane gas collection systems in place by 2016.”

“This is a creative agreement that will extract both energy and revenue from our locally produced waste,” said Shuswap MLA George Abbott. “The conversion will cut down local air pollution and help B.C. to reduce its contribution to global emissions.”

Under the project design, methane released from the landfill will be captured before it can enter the atmosphere. The methane will be cleaned and converted into natural gas, and then piped in to Terasen’s transmission and distribution network.

“As one of the first utility companies in Canada to include alternative energy solutions as part of its regulated energy service offerings, we are committed to making long term energy investments that will help address B.C.’s climate change goals,” said Doug Stout, Vice President, Energy Solutions and External Relations at Terasen Gas and FortisBC. “Delivering biomethane through our distribution system makes good sense and is a natural extension of the energy services we’ve provided customers for more than a century.”

Under the B.C. Landfill Gas Management Regulation, in 2016 all B.C. landfills generating 1,000 tonnes or more of methane each year will be required to install a landfill gas management system. This requirement supports the Province’s commitment to reduce provincial greenhouse gas emissions by at least 33% below 2009 levels by 2020. Methane has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

By implementing this project in advance of the 2016 deadline, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is able to use offset revenues to help pay for the development and installation of the new capture and conversion system.

This is Pacific Carbon Trust’s first landfill methane capture offset project. The new facility is expected to begin operation in November.

Pacific Carbon Trust is a Crown corporation established in 2008 to deliver B.C.-based greenhouse gas offsets, to help clients meet their carbon reduction goals and to support the growth of B.C.’s low-carbon economy.

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