REN Energy will source waste wood from ATCO Wood Products and other forest companies to create Renewable Natural Gas in a new facility planned for Park Siding just outside of Fruitvale. (Townsman file photo)

REN Energy will source waste wood from ATCO Wood Products and other forest companies to create Renewable Natural Gas in a new facility planned for Park Siding just outside of Fruitvale. (Townsman file photo)

Renewable Natural Gas facility targeted for small B.C. town

Once in a lifetime thing, it doesn’t happen in small communities very often, says Fruitvale mayor.

The West Kootenay Village of Fruitvale will be the site of a new state-of-the-art natural gas facility.

FortisBC is partnering with REN Energy International Corporation (REN Energy) to create Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) from wood waste sourced from Fruitvale’s ATCO Wood Products and other Kootenay forestry companies.

“The Village of Fruitvale is beyond excited,” said Fruitvale mayor Steve Morissette. “It’s a once in a lifetime thing, it doesn’t happen in small communities very often. It will offer good paying jobs and there’ll be plant operators, process operators, and typically fork lift drivers, and wood managers.”

The proposed site for the facility is at the old Park Siding ATCO mill about 6 km from Fruitvale in southeastern BC. The project will offer about 18 months of construction jobs and, once construction is complete, the plant will employ 30-35 local workers.

Previous: Fruitvale company named top B.C. Exporter of the Year

Previous: Fruitvale mill affected by market downturn

According to FortisBC Supply Manager Scott Gramm, Fortis will buy the gas generated by the facility and tap into its pipeline that runs near the Park Siding property.

“REN Energy chose that location because it was a source of wood waste and close to our pipeline at the same time,” said Gramm. “We’re talking like 300-metres from our transmission pipeline, it’s nice and close – so acceptable wood waste, acceptable pipeline.”

REN Energy is a global company whose goal is to reduce waste and improve the environment through the development of sustainable, clean fuel-based projects. REN seeks out opportunities to create partnerships with municipalities like Fruitvale and regional districts, forestry industry operators like ATCO, and financial partners like FortisBC to create essentially zero-emission energy products like RNG.

“The plant, the first of its kind in North America, will create an immediate annual economic impact in the Kootenay region,” said Philip Viggiani, president of REN Energy in a release. “As well, our future waste-to-energy project regions will carry similar economic impacts in regard to the creation of hundreds of direct and indirect jobs, significant in-community investments and, of course, the clean energy product we create.”

RNG is a carbon-neutral energy that is made from capturing the methane released from decomposing organic waste.

The project will make use of waste from forestry operations, sawmills and other wood product manufacturers and will speed up the natural process by creating syngas through gasification. The syngas is further converted to methane and then purified to meet natural gas line specifications.

The output is expected to be substantial, and FortisBC estimates over one million gigajoules of energy will be created annually from the facility.

“The average household uses about 90-ish,” explained Gramm. “So we’re talking enough gas to sustain 10,000 to 12,000 homes annually.”

The construction on the facility will begin in the fall, and is expected to be up and running in late 2021, early 2022, says Gramm.

Once operational, the technology will create a use for forestry waste in B.C. and unlock the potential for significant new volumes of RNG in the province.

“We are extremely pleased with our FortisBC agreement spanning 20 years, to provide RNG to our fellow B.C. customers,” said Viggiani. “REN Energy plans to be a major factor in assisting with the FortisBC mandate of creating carbon-neutral RNG.”

When economically feasible, REN Energy intends to benefit both the province and the forestry industry by cleaning up and processing brush piles, and thereby mitigate potential forest fires.

Furthermore, the REN facility will create a market for local forest companies in a time when they need it most.

“It will for sure help our forest industry,” said Morissette. “It will help ILMA – the Interior Lumber Manufacturers’ Association – because they (REN) will be sourcing a lot of the waste wood from them.”

The ground-breaking project’s use of carbon-neutral energies is a crucial element of FortisBC’s 30BY30 target.

The goal is to reduce customers’ greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. FortisBC is also working towards having 15 per cent of its natural gas supply be renewable by 2030, which is in line with commitments outlined in the Province’s CleanBC promise 30-30.

To read the latest COVID-19 news click here: Trail Times COVID news



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

British ColumbiaClimate changeColumbia BasinforestryKootenay Boundary Regional District

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
NTC president calls for ‘massive change’ after Indigenous woman shot by police in Hitacu

“We need to get to the root of what is actually happening with the RCMP and our communities”

Hotel Zed Tofino has won a Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Award. (Westerly file photo)
Hotel Zed Tofino wins commercial building award

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board holds virtual gala.

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

Most Read