RNG purchase, injection project approved in Quebec

By Gaz Metro | July 28, 2015

In a ruling welcomed by Gaz Métro and the City of Saint-Hyacinthe, the Régie de l'énergie du Québec has authorized the utility company to purchase the renewable natural gas (RNG) produced by the city and build the infrastructure required to connect the output to its distribution network. Once the work is complete, up to 13 million cubic meters per year of RNG will be produced by the municipality; most of this will then be injected into Gaz Métro's network. The forward-thinking initiative will give Québec natural gas consumers access to clean, renewable and locally produced energy.

Tapping into the potential of waste recovery can turn it into a strategic asset, one that generates savings while reducing the collective environmental footprint. “By allowing Gaz Métro to fully assume its role as a Québec distributor of natural gas (including renewable natural gas), the ruling has significantly advanced development of the biomethanation process province-wide,” said Martin Imbleau, vice president of development and renewable energies at Gaz Métro. “This joint initiative with Saint-Hyacinthe opens the door to new projects that absolutely must be developed further in Québec. At a time when fighting climate change is critical, developing renewable energy resources lets us diversify our energy mix and contributes directly to meeting our greenhouse gas emission targets.”

The project will make Saint-Hyacinthe Québec's first municipality to recycle organic waste through anaerobic digestion and use the resulting RNG to meet its energy needs. Under the agreement, injection of the renewable natural gas into Gaz Métro's distribution network should start in 2017 and continue for the next 20 years. The ruling opens a potential commercial outlet for all RNG producers located near the gas network, which serves over 300 municipalities province-wide.

In Saint-Hyacinthe, household and local business organic waste from brown bin programs in 23 local municipalities will ultimately fuel the first municipal fleet powered by RNG, which will also be the preferred energy source for heating municipal buildings. “Producing renewable natural gas in Saint-Hyacinthe also works out to lower costs for industrial and municipal waste management,” said Mayor Claude Corbeil. “What's more, selling our production surplus to Gaz Métro will generate a new municipal revenue stream that can be reinvested in the community. At the same time, injecting our surplus into the gas network will let us use our own energy from anywhere on the network, which will significantly reduce our energy bill.”