Landfill gas deal clears elector approval stage

A tentative deal to make the Foothills landfill a source of fuel for FortisBC has been advanced a step.

Fraser-Fort George Regional District directors gave final approval on Thursday after it cleared the elector approval stage.

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Because it entails entering a 20-year agreement, it had been subject to voters' consent via an alternative approval process. Less than 10 per cent of the electorate express opposition through the process, allowing directors to ratify the deal which remains subject to approval from the B.C. Utilities Commission.

Under the terms, FortisBC will extract methane gas from the landfill and inject it into its natural gas distribution system.

FortisBC would pay the FFGRD $75,000 to $145,000 per year and be responsible for financing, constructing and operating a processing plant on the landfill to purify the gas before it's pumped into the system. Building the plant plant will cost an estimated $8.5 million and cost a further $500,000 per year to operate, according to a FortisBC presentation to directors.

The FFGRD will remain responsible for upgrades and maintenance to the landfill's gas collection system and would be obligated to supply 75,000 to 125,000 gigagoules of gas per year.

The deal includes a base rate of $1.25 per gigagoule to cover the FFGRD's costs with annual increases to account for inflation. On that basis, delivering 75,000 gigagoules would reap $93,750 per year, according to a staff report.

FortisBC is working to reach a provincially-mandated goal of securing 15 per cent of its supply from renewable sources by 2030. Diverting gas from Foothills into the FortisBC system would reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 3,500 to 5,700 tonnes per year, according to the company.

The target date for getting the plant up and running is December 2020.

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