NW Natural, a subsidiary of NW Natural Holding Company has signed an agreement with Element Markets to purchase renewable natural gas (RNG) for Oregon customers as part of the RNG program instituted under Oregon Senate Bill 98.
This marks the second RNG contract for NW Natural under the landmark bill, which supports renewable energy procurement and investment by natural gas utilities. The first was a project development agreement signed in December 2020. In July 2021 NW Natural initiated an additional request for proposals (RFP) for RNG purchase or investment opportunities.
With the addition of this most recent contract, NW Natural has signed agreements with options to purchase or develop RNG totaling about 2% of NW Natural’s annual sales volume in Oregon, enough to heat about 36,000 homes.
“We’re pleased to partner with Element Markets to help lower emissions on behalf of our customers,” said David H. Anderson, NW Natural president and CEO. “With this agreement and our RFP, we’re taking a critical step to source more and more of our supply from renewables while also helping to close the loop on waste.”
Under the agreement with Element Markets, NW Natural will purchase the environmental attributes, or Renewable Thermal Certificates (RTCs), generated by a new RNG facility at a wastewater treatment plant in New York City and a Wisconsin-based mixed waste anaerobic digester facility.
“As communities across the country seek out greener energy solutions, we’re excited to work with forward-thinking utilities like NW Natural in delivering the benefits of renewable natural gas,” said Angela Schwarz, co-president and CEO of Element Markets. “This agreement represents an innovative approach to sustainable utility procurement, and we look forward to our continued partnership.”
NW Natural may begin acquiring RTCs under this agreement as early as September 2021.
Renewable natural gas is produced from organic materials like agricultural and forestry by-products, food waste, wastewater, or landfills, and is a unique and valuable form of renewable energy. It combines similar emission reduction benefits of traditional, intermittent renewables such as wind and solar, with the reliability and seasonal storage capabilities of natural gas -- all while capturing, cleaning and utilizing methane, a greenhouse gas with global warming potential 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.