FortisBC is a leading energy solutions provider in British Columbia (B.C.) and serves its approximately 1.2 million customers with natural gas, electricity, propane and renewable energy solutions, through around 56,000 kilometres of energy distribution infrastructure.
Over the last few years, there has been a lot of conversation about the place of natural gas in a lower carbon future as Vancouver home builders are under pressure to reduce emissions. According to B.C.’s provincial government, approximately 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the province come from homes and buildings.
British Columbia has historically been among Canada’s most environmentally progressive jurisdictions and FortisBC has been working to meet the expectations of its customers and local government to make emissions reduction goals a reality.
Enter Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). Renewable Natural Gas is a drop in fuel that can help meet building greenhouse gas reduction targets and builders do not have to change any of their equipment or processes to take advantage of RNG and lower emissions.
Renewable Natural Gas reduces greenhouse gas emissions by capturing methane that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. By capturing and processing it for use, we are able to use less conventional natural gas that is currently underground and instead use the carbon energy that is already in our ecosystem. So while RNG shares the same properties as conventional natural gas, it is carbon neutral over its lifecycle and adds no additional greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The full lifecycle of RNG makes it a carbon neutral fuel. In fact, Offsetters has designated FortisBC’s RNG as carbon neutral.
FortisBC works with builders, developers and industry professionals to understand their needs while providing options to help reach provincial government emissions targets. Using RNG can help buildings meet strict provincial government emissions targets. While reducing emissions is top of mind, energy affordability is also important.
Renewable Natural Gas is more cost effective than electricity and, being carbon neutral, is not subject to B.C.’s carbon tax. It provides buildings an affordable and environmentally conscious energy choice. Builders and developers can meet climate action goals using our solutions like RNG by ensuring their project connects to a gas system that is continually decarbonizing.
Approximately 10,000 British Columbian homes and businesses are already receiving RNG and supply and demand is steadily growing. By 2030, we project that we’ll have enough renewable gas in our system to take care of the annual energy needs of close to 345,000 B.C. homes. On October 15, 2021, our RNG program reopens for customers to take full advantage of this carbon neutral option after a temporary pause in the program when demand outpaced supply.
Displacing conventional natural gas with renewable gas is also critical in having 15 percent of our gas supply be renewable and carbon neutral by 2030, a target that FortisBC is working towards.
Renewable gases can enable buildings in the future to have access to affordable and reliable energy while meeting the strict greenhouse gas emissions intensity targets being brought forward by B.C.’s government. This means builders and developers can reduce greenhouse gas emissions effectively and affordably and don’t have to choose between renewable energy solutions and providing the lifestyle appliances customers want like natural gas fire pits or natural gas barbeques.
For more information about Renewable Natural Gas in B.C., visit fortisbc.com/RNGbuild.
Byline: Jason Wolfe, Director, Energy Solutions at FortisBC