Dominion Energy and Vanguard Renewables announced on December 11 2019, a more than $200 million, nationwide strategic partnership to convert methane from U.S. dairy farms into clean, renewable natural gas (RNG) that can heat homes, power businesses and fuel vehicles. Multiple projects are under development in Georgia, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah with additional projects planned nationwide. Under the strategic partnership, Dominion Energy will own the projects and market the RNG, and Vanguard Renewables’ subsidiary Clean Energy Investment USA dba Vanguard Renewables Ag will design, develop and operate the projects.
“We’re substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. dairy farms, delivering new sources of clean energy to U.S. consumers and providing a new source of long-term revenue for family farmers across the country.”
“Through our strategic partnership with Vanguard Renewables and our strategic alliance with Dairy Farmers of America, we’re rapidly accelerating the development of these transformational projects and for the first time on a nationwide scale,” said Diane Leopold, Dominion Energy’s Co-Chief Operating Officer. “The environmental, consumer and agricultural benefits of these projects are truly groundbreaking,” Leopold continued. “We’re substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. dairy farms, delivering new sources of clean energy to U.S. consumers and providing a new source of long-term revenue for family farmers across the country.”
Dominion Energy is a national leader in clean energy, with the fourth largest U.S. solar fleet and the largest offshore wind project in the U.S. under development along the coast of Virginia. The company has joined forces with Smithfield Foods to form the largest agricultural-based renewable natural gas partnership in the U.S., with $500 million committed over 10 years to convert methane from U.S. hog farms into clean energy for local consumers.
Methane is produced from a variety of natural sources, including dairy, hog and food waste. When released into the atmosphere, methane emits approximately 25 times more greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. By capturing methane from U.S. dairy farms and converting it into RNG, Dominion Energy’s and Vanguard Renewables’ strategic partnership will reduce annual CO2 equivalent emissions by more than 450,000 metric tons, the same as taking nearly 100,000 cars off the road or planting 7.5 million new trees each year.
“Our multi-year alliance with Dairy Farmers of America demonstrates Vanguard Renewables’ commitment to working with the dairy community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance long-term operational and economic benefits for family farmers. For the first time, dairies across the country have partners with substantial financial resources and a deep understanding of the dairy industry working alongside them to take action now to solve these challenges,” said Kevin Chase, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Vanguard Renewables and Chief Executive Officer of Vanguard Renewables Ag. “This strategic partnership with Dominion Energy and DFA will have a meaningful impact on greenhouse gas sequestration and dairy waste-to-energy production that will significantly benefit the farm community and the environment.”
Vanguard Renewables is the national leader in the development of food and dairy waste-to-energy projects. Vanguard Renewables Ag focuses on the development and operation of dairy waste-to-energy projects that improve manure and nutrient management and produce clean energy. Host farmers receive a new income stream and can remain focused on farm operations while Vanguard professionally develops and operates the on-farm facilities.
“As the leading dairy cooperative in the U.S., we have a long-standing commitment to help family farmer-owners solve challenges,” said David Darr, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer of Dairy Farmers of America. “Our strategic alliance with Vanguard Renewables and Dominion Energy provides a meaningful solution to the greenhouse gas emissions challenge we face, supports stewardship of the land, and enhances the long-term economic viability for farms across the U.S.,” Darr continued. “This is a win-win for the dairy farmers and for the environment.”
A typical dairy waste-to-energy project consists of a cluster of multiple farms totaling 20,000 to 30,000 dairy cows. The methane produced from dairy manure is captured through a process known as Farm Powered® anaerobic digestion and is then transported through low-pressure gathering lines to a central conditioning facility. Once the gas is processed and cleaned of any impurities, it is then delivered to local consumers through the existing underground distribution network.
About Dominion Energy
Nearly 7.5 million customers in 18 states energize their homes and businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE: D), headquartered in Richmond, Va. The company is committed to sustainable, reliable, affordable and safe energy and is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy with more than $100 billion of assets providing electric generation, transmission and distribution, as well as natural gas storage, transmission, distribution and import/export services. The company expects to cut generating fleet carbon dioxide emissions 55 percent by 2030 and reduce methane emissions from its gas assets 50 percent by 2030. Please visit Dominion Energy to learn more.
About Vanguard Renewables
Vanguard Renewables is the U.S. leader in farm-based anaerobic digestion. The Company has a multi-year strategic alliance with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), the largest dairy cooperative in the U.S. with more than 14,000 dairy-farmer members across 48 states. The Company’s subsidiary Clean Energy Investment USA dba Vanguard Renewables Ag focuses on the manure-only to RNG business. Through a new partnership with Dominion Energy and DFA, Vanguard Renewables Ag will develop and operate dairy-manure to RNG facilities across the U.S. These Farm Powered® manure-only anaerobic digesters (AD) improve manure and nutrient management, produce clean energy, and provide farms with a new, diversified income stream. Vanguard Renewables develops, owns, and operates farm-based co-digestion facilities that combine farm manure and unwanted food to produce Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) or Renewable Electricity (RE) and is the largest organics recycling destination in the Northeast. Vanguard Renewables won the 2019 American Biogas Council Up-and-Coming Project Award for its AD facility in Salisbury, Vt. and the 2019 American Biogas Council Longevity Award for its Rutland, Ma. AD facility. Vanguard’s Hadley, Ma. digester project won 2016 ABC Project of the Year honors. Vanguard Renewables’ leadership in on-farm co-digestion of food waste and farm waste to renewable energy won the company 2018 Organics Recycler of the Year honors from the National Waste & Recycling Association. Visit Vanguard Renewables to learn more.
About Dairy Farmers of America
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is a national dairy marketing cooperative with more than 14,000 members on more than 8,000 farms in 48 states. DFA farmer-owners are committed to responsible farming and environmental sustainability. Alongside being one of the country’s most diversified manufacturers of dairy products, food components and ingredients, DFA and its member farms are focused on developing innovative farming and manufacturing solutions that enhance food safety and support the communities in which they operate. For more information visit Dairy Farmers of America.