The joint venture of Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods has completed its first renewable natural gas project.
The Align Renewable Natural Gas venture plant is located in Milford, Utah, producing RNG from a network of 26 family farms raising hogs under contract for Smithfield. The plant captures methane from hog waste and converts it into energy.
At full capacity, the project will produce enough RNG to heat more than 3,000 homes and businesses and reduce annual emissions from participating farms by more than 100,000 metric tons, according to the companies. They announced plans to invest about $500 million in the joint venture over the next decade.
“This is an exciting breakthrough for the future of clean energy and sustainable farming,” said Ryan Childress, Dominion Energy’s director of gas business development. “With this single technology, we can produce clean energy for consumers, reduce farm emissions and benefit family farmers. It’s a powerful example of the environmental progress we can make through innovation. We’re thrilled Utah is leading the way, and we’re excited to keep the momentum going in other states across the country.”
Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables, said the Align RNG venture with Dominion could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from his company’s domestic supply by 25 percent in the next five years. It could become carbon negative in all U.S. operations by 2030, according to reports.
With the Utah project in operation and additional projects under development in North Carolina and Virginia, the partnership plans to produce enough renewable natural gas over the next 10 years to heat more than 70,000 homes and businesses.
Both Dominion and Smithfield are based in Virginia. The utility provides electricity and gas for more than 7 million customers n 12 states, while Smithfield has nationwide operations employing more than 40,000 people.