Renewable natural gas purchase and injection project between Énergir and Saint-Hyacinthe given the go-ahead

July 23, 2015 - Press releases

Montréal, July 23, 2015 – In a ruling welcomed by Énergir 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 metres per year of RNG will be produced by the municipality; most of this will then be injected into Énergir'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 Énergir 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 Énergir. “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 Énergir 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.”

About waste management and renewable natural gas (RNG)

In Québec, landfill accounts for approximately 5.5% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Québec municipalities now face strategic choices if they are to comply with the provincial residual materials management policy (PGMR, Politique québécoise de gestion des matières résiduelles1), which will ban the landfilling of organic waste as of 2020. Not only will diverting organic waste into RNG production significantly cut GHG emissions, but the process will also optimize waste management by generating savings and substantial revenue through two outputs: high quality compost or fertilizer on the one hand, and high-performance renewable energy on the other. The latter can be used in all natural gas-powered applications, including the transport sector. Opting to replace petroleum products with RNG will cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 99.4%2 in addition to reducing particulate matter by nearly 99%.

About Énergir

With more than $6 billion in assets, Énergir is a leading energy provider. It is the largest natural gas distribution company in Québec, where its network of over 10,000 km of underground pipelines serves 300 municipalities and more than 195,000 customers. Gaz Métro is also present in Vermont, where it has more than 305,000 customers. There, it operates in the electricity production market and the electricity and natural gas distribution market. Énergir is actively involved in the development of innovative, promising energy projects such as the production of wind power, the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel and the development of biomethane. Énergir is a major energy sector player that takes the lead in responding to the needs of its customers, regions and municipalities, local organizations, and communities while also satisfying the expectations of its Partners (GMi and Valener) and employees.

Estelle Lacroix
Public Affairs
514 598-3449

1 Source: Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC)

2 Calculation carried out by Énergir based on reference data from Facteurs d'émissions et de conversion, Bureau de l'efficacité et de l'innovation énergétiques (BEIE), Ministère des Ressources naturelles du Québec, version dated April 7, 2014

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