Two companies are partnering to build a facility to produce natural gas from a landfill and supply a pipeline in Minnesota.
OPAL Fuels LLC, a Fortistar portfolio company, and NextEra Energy Marketing LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC, announced April 28 plans to build the first landfill renewable natural gas (RNG) production facility in Minnesota. The project will be located at a landfill owned by Republic Services Inc., a leader in the U.S. environmental services industry, and interconnect with a pipeline owned by Xcel Energy Inc., the leading electric and gas utility in the region.
For many years, OPAL, which was previously known as Fortistar RNG and TruStar Energy, has collected and processed gas to generate electricity at the 255-acre Pine Bend Landfill in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. NextEra Energy Marketing will work with OPAL to replace the existing power generation facility with a new RNG production facility that will capture 3,200 standard cubic feet per minute of landfill gas and produce more than 6 million gas gallon equivalents (GGE) of RNG per year.
The Pine Bend RNG Project will create approximately 50 to 60 construction jobs. Once completed in the first quarter of 2022, the project will capture and convert landfill methane to produce approximately 2,140 dekatherms of RNG per day, which is enough to eliminate 43,900 metric tons of carbon and offset direct (scope 1) emissions from 400 heavy-duty (Class 8) trucks every year. OPAL will operate and manage the RNG project, and clean renewable natural gas fuel will be dispensed to customers via OPAL’s natural gas fueling stations.
“Our agreement with NextEra Energy Marketing and Republic Services offers a tremendous economic and environmental opportunity for the State of Minnesota. From both a fiscal and sustainability standpoint, renewable natural gas is the highest value product you can make from captured landfill gas,” said Jonathan Maurer, co-CEO of OPAL. “We’re proud to work with industry leaders and continue to play a major role in the decarbonization of our nation’s economy by capturing methane to create cleaner fuel for natural gas vehicles.”
“We’re pleased to be working with OPAL and Republic Services on this innovative project,” said John Ketchum, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources. “This transaction is consistent with our belief that a substantial, and economic decarbonization of the electricity, industrial, and transportation sectors is possible which represents a significant investment opportunity in the coming decades.”
The project is driven by an exceptional match among several companies, equally passionate about innovation and the transition to environmental sustainability in their respective industries. For OPAL, the Pine Bend RNG Project is the sixth in a series of 12 RNG projects that will require nearly $500 million of capital investment and capture the equivalent of more than 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually — the equivalent of taking approximately 435,000 passenger cars off the road.
“As a leader in the environmental services industry, Republic Services is proud of this innovative partnership with OPAL and NextEra at our Pine Bend Landfill to create Minnesota’s first renewable natural gas facility,” said Pete Keller, Republic Services vice president of recycling and sustainability. “This project will allow us to utilize a natural byproduct of the landfill to produce low-carbon transportation fuels and other forms of renewable energy and help Republic meet our goal of sending 50 percent more biogas to beneficial reuse by 2030.”
Republic Services is involved with gas-to-energy projects at 69 of its landfills, and 20 percent of its fleet is powered by natural gas, including RNG derived from landfills. This joint project directly supports Republic Services’ commitment to send 50 percent more landfill gas to beneficial reuse by 2030.
“This facility is exactly the kind of development we encourage in our community,” said Inver Grove Heights Mayor Tom Bartholomew, who led the City Council in approving the project. “It brings innovative new technology and jobs to our area, and it’s good for the state’s economy and the environment. Inver Grove Heights is leading the way by creating this opportunity in Minnesota, and we hope other cities will follow suit with additional renewable energy projects.”