Using Landfill Gas For Natural Gas Delivery Systems

Indigenous landfill gas may soon be making its way into New Hampshire natural gas delivery systems.  Liberty Utilities (“Liberty”) which owns and operates pipeline gas and compressed natural gas (“CNG”) systems in New Hampshire is seeking approval from the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) for an arrangement whereby landfill gas would be cleaned, converted to CNG and then delivered to Liberty’s New Hampshire systems for use by Liberty’s natural gas customers.  If approved, New Hampshire will join approximately 30 other states having similar projects that are either in service or under development.

Liberty’s project involves utilizing landfill gas produced by the North Country Environmental Services (“NCES”) landfill in Bethlehem, New Hampshire.  Currently, methane which is naturally produced at the landfill is being “flared” or burned off into the atmosphere.  Under Liberty’s proposal, all of the landfill gas that is currently being flared would instead be acquired by RUDAPARA, Inc. and cleaned at a facility that RUDAPARA plans to construct at the Bethlehem landfill site.  The cleaning process involves removing non-methane components of the landfill gas to produce renewable natural gas (“RNG”) that meets standards specified by the Gas Technology Institute for the introduction of landfill-derived RNG into natural gas pipelines.   Once the RNG is tested for quality, RUDAPARA would then convert the RNG to CNG and deliver it to Liberty’s receipt points in Concord, Keene and Lebanon.

RUDAPARA will be responsible for the collection, cleaning, compression and delivery of the RNG to Liberty’s receipt points.    Under its contract with RUDAPARA, Liberty has a right to purchase the production facility for a fixed cost based on construction and financing estimates.  If the construction or financing terms for the production facility exceed the contracted purchase price and financing terms, RUDAPARA will be responsible for those excess amounts.  In the event that Liberty acquires the production facility, RUDAPARA would continue to be responsible for operating and maintaining the facility and for delivering the RNG to Liberty’s receipt points.

A PUC hearing on this proposal is scheduled for April 5, 2019.  If the Project is approved and is successful, similar projects involving other New Hampshire landfills could follow, thereby providing natural gas customers with additional indigenous renewable resources.

About the Author: Susan Geiger

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