Where does Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) fit into the energy transition? With a global market value of around 8 billion in 2022, the industry is expected to grow to 215 billion by 2030. Also known as biomethane, RNG is derived from organic waste materials. It’s produced through the breakdown of organic matter, including agricultural waste, landfill waste, and wastewater.
Transforming Waste into Energy
RNG can offer a cleaner alternative to traditional fossil fuels by capturing landfill methane emissions and converting them into energy. This process not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also taps into an otherwise neglected energy source. That’s in addition to utilizing organic waste that would otherwise be left in landfills (consider that solid waste is expected to increase nearly 70% by midcentury).
300 Facilities and Counting
RNG production in the U.S. has witnessed a recent rise. According to the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, there are now over 300 facilities currently operational, an increase from roughly 30 in 2011. RNG Coalition data reveals that 178 more facilities are under construction, while a further 303 facilities are in planning stages.
Strategic Partnerships Driving Billions in Growth
Today, there is increased movement in the RNG industry. Some key recent developments include:
- Tidewater Renewables Ltd. subsidiary Rimrock Renewables has entered a 20-year offtake agreement with FortisBC Energy, who plans to purchase up to 525,000 gigajoules of RNG annually
- In the largest RNG deal ever, BP announced plans to acquire RNG producer Archaea Energy for $4.1 billion
- AstraZeneca entered an agreement with Vanguard Renewables to purchase RNG, up to 650,000 mmBtus of energy annually by 2026
- NextEra Energy grew its RNG portfolio after acquiring assets from Energy Power Partners Fund and North American Sustainable Energy Fund in a $1.1 billion deal
Challenges and Opportunities:
Despite RNG’s potential, there are potential challenges in scalability, infrastructure integration, and consistent quality. However, advancements in technology and increased policy support (such as the IRA’s Alternative Fuel Tax Credit) can help address some of these hurdles.
With its capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transform waste management practices, RNG could prove a useful tool as the energy transition unfolds.