Cayuga RNG Holdings LLC announced May 4 that it has entered into definitive agreements to develop dairy farm digester projects to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) in upstate New York. Cayuga RNG is a joint venture owned by a subsidiary of UGI Energy Services (UGIES), a subsidiary of UGI Corp. and Global Common Energy LLC (GCE).
Cayuga RNG’s first project will be developed at the Spruce Haven Farm, located in the Finger Lakes region of Cayuga County, New York. The project will incorporate an existing anaerobic digester that generates biogas, which is currently used to produce renewable electricity.
The proposed project, which is expected to be completed in the second half of calendar year 2022, will upgrade the biogas to produce an expected 50 million cubic feet of RNG each year from on-site dairy waste feedstock. The RNG supply will be delivered to a local natural gas pipeline serving its regional distribution system.
Cayuga RNG is in the process of developing other dairy digesters in Cayuga County and upstate New York. RNG projects reduce waste and long-term greenhouse gas emissions, while also increasing the use of renewable energy. GHI, a wholly owned subsidiary of UGIES, will be the exclusive off-taker and marketer of RNG for Cayuga RNG.
GCE, based in Garden City, New York, designs, develops, owns and operates renewable and fossil-fueled power plants, microgrids, on-site generation projects, and large-scale anaerobic digestion projects that produce RNG and organic based soil amendments. GCE energy projects include a 54 MW peaking power plant, two 12.5 MW biomass power plants, an anaerobic digester/co-generation facility, a 150,000 ton per year wood pellet plant, and ethanol plants, among others. Marathon Capital acted as financial advisor for GCE.
“For nearly 140 years, UGI has focused on providing safe, reliable service to its customers and to the many communities it serves,” said Robert F. Beard, UGI executive vice president – Natural Gas. “In 2020, UGI announced its acquisition of GHI Energy, LLC, a RNG marketing business based in Houston, Texas. At that time, UGI outlined how that investment would provide a platform for growth in other RNG projects. UGI’s investment in Cayuga RNG reinforces our commitment to the development of RNG and sustainable energy. Additionally, the investment in Cayuga RNG supports the company’s existing greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies that will be highlighted in UGI’s upcoming environmental, social and governance (ESG) report titled “The Foundation of a Renewable Energy Future.”
GCE president Robert J. Foxen said he looked forward to expanding Cayuga RNG with the support of UGIES.
“My partner, Jim (Fitzgerald), and I have been in the environmental, sustainability, electric grid resilience and renewal fuels space for some time,” Foxen said. “We look forward to teaming with UGIES to support the dairy industry as it moves to become more environmentally sustainable by reducing fugitive methane emissions from dairy operations, while producing RNG and reducing the demand for fossil fuels. In addition to the environmental benefits, these projects also provide the dairies (many family-owned and operated) with financial support by monetizing a former waste stream.”
Spruce Haven Farm has been working toward RNG development for 20 years, said Doug Young, managing member of Spruce Haven Farm.
“Bob Foxen has led the journey for us and has done a great job connecting us with UGIES, the ideal partner,” Young said. “Our shared vision of a strong economy based on renewable energy is taking a major step forward.”