Enbridge and Vanguard Renewables Strike Clean Energy Partnership
It’s where waste becomes wealth, where flotsam becomes fuel, where poop becomes power.
It’s the process of creating renewable natural gas (RNG)—and today, Enbridge and Vanguard Renewables announced a partnership to design and build eight RNG project sites across the United States, where organic waste will be transformed into carbon-neutral RNG.
“As a leader in energy transition, Enbridge has committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and is excited to partner with industry leaders such as Vanguard Renewables who are developing new sources of clean energy and helping companies reduce their emissions,” says Bill Yardley, Enbridge’s Executive Vice President and President, Gas Transmission and Midstream (GTM). “This partnership is a great example of how we’re advancing low-carbon energies across our natural gas systems.”
Under the partnership, Vanguard, a leading developer of RNG infrastructure, will build and operate digesters used to convert food and farm waste into RNG, while Enbridge will invest in the RNG upgrading equipment that will turn RNG into pipeline-quality natural gas. Enbridge will also help transport and sell that natural gas to large multinational companies with aggressive decarbonization goals.
Some of these companies are part of Vanguard’s Farm Powered Strategic Alliance (FPSA)—including Starbucks, Unilever and the Dairy Farmers of America—who reduce their carbon footprint by providing their food and farm waste to Vanguard as RNG feedstock.
“We are proud to work with Enbridge to accelerate the development of transformational renewable energy projects on a nationwide scale and help combat climate change,” says John Hanselman, Founder and CEO of Vanguard Renewables. “This partnership and our deep relationships with leading food industry manufacturers and retailers through the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance, will enable the seamless transmission of the RNG from our farm network to these ESG-conscious participants keen to use RNG to decarbonize their thermal energy needs.”
Enbridge expects to invest more than US$75 million, collectively, for upgrading equipment and pipeline infrastructure at these facilities.
The eight RNG production sites will be located near FPSA member processing facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Methane, produced from the natural anaerobic decay of organic sources such as food and farm waste, has a global warming potential of about 25 times that of carbon dioxide when released to the atmosphere. Collectively, these eight sites are expected to create about two billion cubic feet of RNG annually through methane capture and conversion.
That’s enough to displace about 110,000 metric tons of CO2 that would otherwise be released into the air—the equivalent of taking nearly 25,000 cars off the road.
Enbridge’s gas utility, Enbridge Gas, is already actively involved in Canadian RNG partnerships.
In Toronto, one of the city’s solid waste facilities is now producing RNG around the clock as part of a collaboration with the utility. Meanwhile, a partnership between Enbridge Gas, Walker Industries and Comcor Environmental has broken ground on Ontario’s largest RNG facility in Niagara Falls, with an agreement to jointly develop other RNG projects across the country.
“This partnership is a good first step with some of North America’s largest companies—with the potential for growth, and more renewable natural gas projects down the road,” says Caitlin Tessin, Director of Market Innovation for Enbridge's GTM business unit.