Columbia Shuswap Regional District Landfill Methane Gas Capture

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) is using biogas from landfill to produce electricity.

This project is the first in BC to recover raw biogas from a landfill and upgrade it so it can be injected into natural gas distribution infrastructure. The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) is also the first local government to partner with Pacific Carbon Trust and generate offset credits. By showcasing a viable alternative to producing electricity from landfill gas, this project is a key building block in FortisBC’s move to develop a Renewable Natural Gas offering.

Success Story Snapshot

Energy Savings / GHG Reductions: Expected over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere by 2016.
Business case: 10,000 carbon credits annually will offset the local government carbon footprint with any remaining credits sold. This will enable the CSRD to see a return on its investment within 15 years.
Co-benefits: Equivalent natural gas use will be provided to approximately 500 homes and businesses in Salmon Arm (between 20,000 and 35,000 GJ of energy each year).
Total project cost: $4 million.

Project Summary

In 2010 the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), in partnership with FortisBC, initiated a project to cap the completed portion of the Salmon Arm landfill and begin capturing and upgrading the associated emissions to provide natural gas heating for hundreds of homes. The project is designed to capture methane gas released from the landfill before it can enter the atmosphere. The landfill gas is purified by removing all gases except for methane, making the gas almost identical to natural gas, and then piped into FortisBC’s local distribution network. Because this methane comes from organic waste it is called biomethane.

This project has a number of different components including:

  • The methane capture component, which was financed and led by the Regional District
  • The upgrading of the landfill gas to biomethane financed and led by FortisBC
  • Working with the Pacific Carbon Trust to develop carbon credit protocols and develop saleable offsets 
  • Retention of offsets to allow the RD the potential to become the first local government in BC to achieve carbon neutrality through internal emission reduction projects
  • The development of a process that the Regional District defines as the “self managed approach”, which refers to using in house staff and local labour to see the project through instead of contracting it out.

This project is the first in BC to recover raw biogas from a landfill and upgrade it so it can be injected into natural gas distribution infrastructure.

Energy Savings/GHG reductions

This project is expected to remove 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2012 - this is the equivalent of approximately 2,625 cars off the road for one year. It is expected that over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere by 2016.

Business Case

It is anticipated that over 10,000 carbon credits will be generated annually and used to offset the local government carbon footprint with remaining credits sold to the Pacific Carbon Trust. In addition, a partnership with Fortis Gas will result in an additional $50,000/year. The sale of carbon credits and methane gas to Fortis will enable the CSRD to see a return on its investment within 15 years.

Project Funding:

  • Methane capture portion $1.5 million financed by CSRD (partially through landfill user fees and internal reserve fund).
  • Methane conversion $1.5 million (Financed by FortisBC including $200,000 from the BC Bioenergy Network and $366,000 from the Provincial Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) fund). 
  • Total costs of all components combined: $4 million.  

Co-Benefits

  • The creation of an alternative revenue stream through the sale of emissions reductions to the Pacific Carbon Trust
  • The distribution of gas to local residences and business through partnership with FortisBC
  • Support for the Province’s commitment to reducing provincial greenhouse gas emissions by at least 33 per cent below 2009 levels by 2020. Methane has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide
  • The treatment of roughly 1.1 million litres of leachate in the project’s first year through the use of a phytoremediation system (a bioremediation process that uses various types of plants to remove, transfer, stabilize, and/or destroy contaminants in the soil and groundwater) 

Lessons learned

  • Hiring a competent project manager is important. Given that the project was the first of its kind in the province and had a number of different components, it was very important to have someone who could help to bring all the pieces together.
  • “Self managed” approach helpful. In addition to the contracted manager, the CSRD relied on Regional District staff and about 20 local contractors. This reduced cost, helped build internal capacity and contributed to the local economy.
  • Unforeseen delays changed timeline. Region-specific weather caused delays.
  • Details around developing carbon credit protocols took time. However, other local government will now be able to benefit from the hard work done developing carbon credit protocols.
  • Needed to ensure that the system for methane collection and utilization is designed for local area climate. The infrastructure at the Salmon Arm landfill continues to experience operational challenges in winter months, significantly more than spring, summer and fall.

Related Tools

Other Examples

Municipal Contact

Darcy Mooney
Deputy Manager Environment & Engineering Services
Direct Line: (250) 833-5938
Fax (250) 832-1083
Email dmooney@csrd.bc.ca

Community type: