- EverGen Infrastructure recently acquired a majority stake in an Alberta-based potato farming operation, focused around capturing methane emissions from organic waste, and upgrading it to Renewable Natural Gas to sell to utilities
- The company has recently stated a goal to expand to 20 production sites within 5 years as they seek to capitalize on the Canadian electric grid’s move towards securing renewable energy feedstocks
- In recent years, a number of Canadian provinces have introduced RNG mandates for their energy supplies
- That move will soon be mimicked in the United States, with the $430bn climate bill set to be signed into law
Nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the Perry family’s potato farming operations have supplied the likes of Frito-Lay and McCain Foods Ltd for over a generation. In recent years however, the Alberta-based operation has sought to capitalize on their agrarian operations in a manner that may not have been envisioned by its original founders – the production of renewable natural gas (“RNG”). GrowTEC, the Perry family’s power generation operation, seeks to capture the methane produced by over 15,000 tonnes of decomposing potatoes and other waste annually, using the generated electricity to power their farming operations whilst selling any excess power to the provincial grid. In July, the Perrys agreed to sell two-thirds of their budding biogas business to EverGen Infrastructure (TSX.V: EVGN) (OTCQB: EVGIF), a British-Columbia based natural gas operator, for $2.1 million. In return, EverGen will fund the investments needed to upgrade the company’s gas production, enabling it to be injected into the pipeline network under a 20-year contact with FortisBC, British Columbia’s main gas utility.
Since 2010, the global movement to replace coal with gas for power generation has prevented over 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, the carbon equivalent of upwards of 200 million internal combustion engine vehicles being replaced by electric vehicles. Nonetheless, methane production, which emanates from decomposing organic waste in landfills, food waste and wastewater and is said to be at least 25 times more potent as a climate-warming gas relative to carbon dioxide, has gone largely unchecked.
The Canadian Biogas Association has recently revealed that the production of biogas and renewable natural gas could halve the collective potential to cut the nation’s methane emissions – a primary feedstock for biogas and RNG, by as much as half as of 2030. The movement has gained further impetus with various Canadian provinces introducing mandates to boost RNG use in recent years; in 2019, Quebec states that its gas grid would blend a minimum of 1-percent RNG into its feedstock mix, a figure set to rise to as much as 10 percent by 2030.
EverGen Infrastructure has sought to capitalize on the move towards increased RNG production, with a publicly stated goal to own over 20 facilities across the country within five years – an aim which has underpinned the company’s purchase of a majority stake in the Perry family’s GrowTEC operation as well as several others of the kind.
“We are a renewable natural gas energy company. We’re a developer, owner and operator of projects that take organic waste and convert that organic waste into renewable energy in the form of renewable natural gas (‘RNG’),” stated Chase Edgelow, Co-Founder and CEO of EverGen Infrastructure Cop.
“[Canadian utilities, like FortisBC] offer 20-year contracted offtakes to companies like ours to supply them with green energy, which provides a certainty for our business. Our business is then going out and building facilities that will take organic waste and convert it into RNG.”
Moreover, the movement towards cleaner fuel sources has not been confined to Canada alone. In early September 2022, the United States Government is set to sign into law a $430 billion bill, widely hailed as the biggest climate package in U.S. history, with an objective to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to boosting production of traditional renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydro—electric power, the bill will also seek to boost production of the likes of hydrogen and renewable natural gas, an aim recently lauded by Mr. Edgelow.
“If you look back at the benefits of bringing in other sources of energy 20 years ago, there wasn’t one silver bullet for the electrical grid to be as renewable as it is today, with wind, solar and hydro,” he said. I think renewable natural gas can hold its own, and at the same time solve a massive waste problem and emissions problem from waste.”
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.EvergenInfra.com.
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