Dominion Energy and partner become US’ largest natural gas producer


US utility Dominion Energy and $15 billion global food company Smithfield Foods will double their investments in renewable natural gas through 2028.

Dominion Energy and the world’s largest pork processor will increase their investment in $500 joint venture Align Renewable Natural Gas to $500 million.

The two are adding $250 million in capital in addition to the quarter of a million dollars in funding announced in November 2018.

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The increase in investments will allow Align Renewable Natural Gas to enter energy markets in the states of North Carolina, Virginia and Utah and pursue new projects across other regions of the country, including Arizona and California.

The companies will produce enough RNG to power more than 70,000 homes and businesses by 2029. Align RNG’s first project in Milford, Utah, will be operational this year and will produce enough RNG to power more than 3,000 local homes and businesses at full capacity.

Their additional capital will result in the prevention of more than 2.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent to taking more than 500,000 cars off the road or planting more than 40 million new trees.

If left to be emitted into the air, methane from the hog manure, food waste and wastewater to be captured owing to the project, can produce 25 times more greenhouse gas emissions than carbon dioxide.

Kenneth M. Sullivan, CEO of Smithfield Foods, said: “After researching ways to transform manure into renewable energy for nearly two decades, Smithfield, together with our partners, has developed a proven business model that can be expanded at scale across the country. These efforts culminated in 2016 when Smithfield led the industry as the first major protein company to adopt a far-reaching GHG reduction goal throughout its entire supply chain. We followed this announcement in 2017 with the launch of Smithfield Renewables, a platform that unified our industry-leading carbon reduction and renewable energy initiatives,”

“Last year, we joined forces with Dominion Energy in a historic initiative to transform the future of sustainable energy and agriculture. This substantial extension of our ‘manure-to-energy’ efforts will help us achieve our ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2025 across our entire supply chain while creating additional value for local family farmers and providing communities with clean energy.”

“Our partnership is revolutionizing the future of sustainable energy and agriculture in this country, and we are thrilled to partner with Smithfield to grow this exciting new industry,” said Diane Leopold, President & CEO of Dominion Energy’s Gas Infrastructure Group. “We’re not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions we’re also turning a waste product into a clean energy resource,” Leopold continued. “We’re capturing 25 times more greenhouse gas emissions from the farm than are ever released when the gas is used to heat homes or power businesses.”