Dominion, Smithfield complete first renewable gas project in Utah
Natural gas converted from methane will power 3,000 homes
Dominion Energy Inc. and Smithfield Foods Inc., both based in Virginia, completed their first renewable natural gas (RNG) project in southwestern Utah, Smithfield announced Wednesday.
In 2018, the Richmond-headquartered utility and Smithfield-based food company partnered in the $500 million Align Renewable Natural Gas joint venture to convert methane from Smithfield’s contracted hog farms into renewable natural gas. Align’s project in Milford, Utah, is the venture’s first large-scale renewable gas-producing effort, involving a network of 26 family farms. At full capacity, the Utah project will produce enough gas to heat more than 3,000 homes and businesses and reduce annual methane emissions by more than 100,000 metric tons, according to Smithfield.
“We’re excited to witness the completion of our initial project in Utah, as we continue to scale and implement renewable energy projects across the country,” Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables and hog production environmental affairs for Smithfield Foods, said in a statement. “Our Align RNG partnership with Dominion Energy is a key component of Smithfield’s carbon reduction strategy, which promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our domestic supply chain 25% by 2025 and become carbon negative in all U.S. company-owned operations by 2030.”
By 2030, Align RNG is projected to power approximately 70,000 homes, according to the companies. In Virginia, approximately 20 Smithfield Foods-owned hog farms around Waverly and Wakefield are expected to come online in 2021 and will eventually provide energy to 4,000 homes and businesses. Other farms could be added to the original group or formed into a new cluster.
“This is an exciting breakthrough for the future of clean energy and sustainable farming,” Ryan Childress, Dominion Energy’s director of gas business development, said in a statement. “With this single technology, we can produce clean energy for consumers, reduce farm emissions and benefit family farmers. It’s a powerful example of the environmental progress we can make through innovation. We’re thrilled Utah is leading the way, and we’re excited to keep the momentum going in other states across the country.”