Waste to be tapped as gas
Published: October 12, 2012 4:00 PM
Updated: October 12, 2012 5:29 PM
Where some might not see past sewage, others are seeing opportunity.
The City of Richmond is eyeing a partnership with FortisBC to use refined biogas—harvested from Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant—to heat public buildings.
If regulators approve, all city facilities could eventually use the carbon neutral energy source.
“Richmond is probably the first city to take advantage of this kind of a program,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “It does cost a few dollars, but it demonstrates our commitment to reducing greenhouse gases and reducing our carbon footprint.”
The renewable natural gas is created from organic waste found at landfills, farms and sewage treatment plants. Bacteria breaks the waste down and the gas is harvested and purified so it can be used as a substitute to natural gas.
FortisBC is set to file an application with the B.C. Utilities Commission to win approval for the Richmond project. Approval could come by spring.
Richmond council has pledged to buy a modest amount of the fuel in 2013, and eventually buy enough to replace 10 per cent of natural gas used at all civic facilities.
Council is also encouraging private property owners to do the same. A program is under development that could offer incentives for natural gas users to shift up to 10 per cent of fuel to the renewable product from the Lulu Island plant.
But producing the renewable natural gas comes at a cost, and the city’s gas bill is expected to rise by $32,857 in 2014 as a result, according to a report from Cecilia Achiam, Richmond’s director of sustainability and district energy.
Nonetheless Achiam said the high-tech gas is a “positive step forward” for a city aiming to meet ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets. Council hopes to see a 33 per cent drop in Richmond’s greenhouse gases by 2020. By 2050, council envisions a drop of 80 per cent below 2007 levels.
Reaching those “lofty” targets will require focus by the city, said Brodie, but the five-term mayor believes they’re achievable.
“If we don’t quite make it, we’ll certainly go a long distance towards it,” he said.
FortisBC’s current supply of refined biogas comes from an Abbotsford farm, and another gas capture facility is planned for the Salmon Arm landfill, according to spokesperson Michael Allison.
“We’re definitely interested in working with municipalities or companies that recognize the value of waste and recognize the ability to turn it into something useful like renewable natural gas.”
The gas has only been available to homeowners for one year and to business customers since spring. FortisBC now boasts 3,793 residential subscribers and 57 commercial subscribers.
Once a subscriber elects to designate 10 per cent of their natural gas as renewable natural gas, FortisBC injects the equivalent amount of renewable natural gas into its system.
The additional cost to an average homeowner is $5 per month.
Said Allison: “This is a renewable resource that they’re taking advantage of. By signing up they’re helping grow this. We can’t really do it without our customers signing up for this.
I usually have kneejerk “politically- incorrect response when I read articles like that posted above….ie
” WTF is this..again…? “
Lets dissect this a bit ,shall we? We don’t need the Rosetta Stone to translate, once we scrape away the BS.
First they need to create a bad guy. In this case its GreenHouseGases (GHG). Now according to the GAIA Cult, these are very evil…baaadd. So now that we have made up a bad guy, we now try to attack it and look like the good guys.
I have already pointed out several times that cement production is one of the highest single contributor to GHG…yet Hi Rises (no-one lives in) are still being built.
So, Richmond Council is still buying into the long discredited GHG /Global Warming Myth. Even if they realize it now, they are in so deep they can’t admit it.
So , as we are continuing to see, another touchy feely “Koom Bay Ya” moment , where private sector company has attached a tentacle to Gov’t….a one degree of separation from OUR wallets. I mean…would YOU sign up for this deal for your residence….I wouldn’t, at least until I saw the contract. However…we likely won’t see the contract, because they will hide under confidentiality clauses.
What I laugh at is the City’s gas bill will RISE by $32,000 in 2014 “but its worth it” ? Well can’t have it both ways….my accounting says that $32,000 has a GHG cost attached….ie Richmond taxpayers have to work and generate that amount in taxes….which has a proportional GHG impact ie driving to work to earn that amount AFTER taxes will have GHG created.
I also laugh when I think about basic Physics and Chemistry…..we are spending tax dollars on an issue that is so hard to pin down….our Richmond contribution tot he Global GHG is so tiny….yet these parties at City Hall feel “the Sky Will Fall”. Let’s look to where many of the jobs now are..in China….isn’t it reasonable to assume that CHINA has a huge impact on GLOBAL GHG production…and of course these GHG s , being gases , are very mobile aka can cross oceans and mix with other Global GHG outputs ? In such obvious logic, why is City Hall so focussed on a tiny drop in the HUGE Global bucket,its absolutely ridiculous.
Just musing…but City of Richmond seems to be running around signing all sorts of thes side deals WITHOUT OUR TAXPAYER PERMISSION. You can be 100% sure that the deal is structured so that the Private Sector partner cannot lose….therefore all the risk is imposed on us Richmond Taxpayers. If you recall, the City GHG fears was their justification for the West Cambie Geo – Thermal project…Richmond Taxpayers are on the hook for that deal.
At this rate, and increase in exposed liability, all it would take is a “Black Swan” event with these ventures and Richmond could collapse into a Bankruptcy….as we have seen in the US.
Or…, ask yourself…with no evidence to the contrary is this in fact THE True Agenda…