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

Tanvi Pandhi, a Grade 12 student at Fleetwood Park Secondary, took part in the Surrey school district’s survey of students in grades 10 to 12, with a focus on health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey students voice concerns about mask wearing, distancing in schools

Surrey school district has been surveying students in grades 10 to 12

Cambridge Elementary School music teacher Darlene Lourenco is “on the mend” after contracting COVID-19. She had a two-week stay at Surrey Memorial Hospital, including in the ICU. (Photo: submitted)
Surrey music teacher at home after two-week hospital stay battling COVID-19

Meantime, Surrey Teachers’ Association sends letter with safety demands to board of education

Keir Macdonald, CEO of Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery Education Society, with the “first of its kind” Adult Residential Substance Use and Supportive Recovery Facility Homelessness Count. It was done around the time of the Metro Vancouver Homeless Count (March 3 to 4, 2020) to complement the count. (Photo: Amy Reid)
Surrey homeless, recovery counts show need for long-term solutions

This was the first time recovery, substance use facilities were included in the count

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Hail to the chief – an in-depth interview with Surrey Police Service’s first boss

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski will assume his historic new role on Dec. 14

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Newton Elementary School in Surrey, according to an information bulletin Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Image: Google Street View)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at second Surrey elementary school

Newton Elementary closed for two weeks, set to reopen Dec. 14

(Photo: Amy Reid)
VIDEO: 2020 Community Leader Awards recognize Surrey’s unsung heroes

They don’t often receive recognition and don’t necessarily have a high profile in the community

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Most Read