When the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) closed the first phase of the Salmon Arm landfill in 2010, it installed gas collection wells to capture methane gas at an onsite biogas plant. In partnership with FortisBC, most of the gas is upgraded to pipeline quality by removing all landfill gases except methane. The resulting “Renewable Natural Gas” (RNG) is effectively identical to normal natural gas and delivered to the FortisBC pipeline for distribution to heat homes and businesses in the city. A portion of the methane is destroyed through flaring at the landfill.
CSRD financed and led the methane capture component of this project, while FortisBC handled the upgrading of the landfill gas to RNG.
Regional government staff led this project; however, they received CSRD Board support in 2010 to develop this type of infrastructure, which aligns with the Board’s support for “green” and climate initiatives. The environmental and financial benefits were instrumental in receiving Board support, and contributed to positive news stories and community support.
For this project, it was vital to hire an experienced project manager to bring all the components of the project together. In order to lower costs, support the local economy and build internal capacity, the Regional District depended on its own staff as well as hired contractors in the region.
When implementing these types of projects, it is important that the system for methane collection and utilization be designed for the local climate, particularly winter conditions.
Between 2011 and 2017, this project removed 51,346 tonnes of CO2e emissions or an average of 7335 tonnes per year.
An average of nearly $104,000 in carbon credit revenue has been generated each year to offset CSRD’s corporate emissions and achieve carbon neutrality. The credits were initially sold to Pacific Carbon Trust and now to the Climate Action Secretariat. A total revenue of $727,068 was received between 2011 and 2017.
More than $65,000 in revenue from the sale of gas to FortisBC.
CSRD’s return on investment was 8 years, which was earlier than the predicted 15 years, due to the sale of gas to FortisBC and carbon credits to the Province of BC.
Distribution of gas to residents and businesses for heating
Treatment of about 1.1 million litres of leachate using a phytoremediation system in the project’s initial year
Excess revenues above the initial return on investment are now supporting various solid waste management initiative
Total project cost:
$1.5 million financed by CSRD using landfill user fees, reserve fund and other means
$2.5 million financed by FortisBC including $200,00 from BC Bioenergy Network and $366,000 from the Province of BC’s Innovative Clean Energy Fund