In the United States (US), U.S. Gain, a leader in the development, procurement and distribution of renewable natural gas (RNG) for the transportation and energy markets, has announced that it has completed a renewable natural gas (RNG) supply agreement with the Port of Seattle. RNG will be used to heat Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and power its fleet of buses enabling the Port to reach its 2030 goal to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent almost a decade earlier.
The Port of Seattle Commission approved a contract to enable the Port to reach its 2030 goal to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent, almost a decade early. Worth US$23 million, the contract will allow the Port to purchase enough fuel to heat 55 percent of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) terminal and to power 100 percent of its bus fleet to reach its 50 percent port-wide carbon reduction goal.
First US airport to use RNG for heating
Natural gas accounts for 75 percent of the Port’s annual climate-warming greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This contract will result in the reduction of approximately 11 000 tonnes of emissions the Port directly produces from its own operations (scope 1) and those from the energy it purchases (scope 2).
This reduction is equivalent to heating 4 000 Seattle homes or taking 2 400 passenger vehicles off the roads each year of the contract. SEA will be the first airport in the United States (US) to utilize RNG for heating.
We’re proud to assist the Port of Seattle in meeting its 2030 carbon reduction goals well ahead of schedule. RNG is widely used by fleets across market sectors to reduce transportation-related emissions. More recently though, we’re seeing organizations take interest in RNG for other uses – such as reducing thermal energy-related emissions. We’re excited to see the Port of Seattle diversify the application of RNG at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, said U.S. Gain Director of RNG Business Development Bryan Nudelbacher.
RNG is produced from methane captured during the decomposition of organic materials at agricultural farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), then cleaned and conditioned to meet pipeline standards and injected into existing natural gas distribution pipelines.
According to U.S. Gain, RNG presents several benefits to organizations seeking emission reductions throughout their operations. It can be used as an alternative fuel to reduce scope 1 and/or 3 emissions, but also as a thermal energy solution to reduce heating and cooling-related scope 2 emissions.
The transition to renewable natural gas is another example of the Port’s environmental leadership, even in hard times. While it’s critical that immediate attention is given to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, we must continue to reduce our carbon footprint if we are to avoid the long-term economic and human costs associated with the climate crisis, said Port of Seattle Commission Vice President and founding co-chair of the Energy and Sustainability Committee, Fred Felleman.
Statewide Carbon Fuel Standard needed
Through its initiatives, the Port of Seattle is working to become the most energy-efficient port in North America. This partnership is another step forward in achieving that goal. The fuel delivery begins on October 1, 2020.
The RNG-related cost increase to the airline rates is less than one percent. There are no costs to terminal tenants such as Airport Dining and Retail operators or to taxpayers.
RNG is the best solution for organizations seeking immediate emission reductions. Because RNG is a drop-in solution for those consuming fossil natural gas today, it’s an easy transition that will produce significant environmental results. RNG can be procured through contracts with suppliers like U.S. Gain and comes without the need for infrastructure upgrades, features uninterrupted supply unlike other renewables and availability is increasing daily as new development projects come online, Bryan Nudelbacher explained.
The Port’s RNG supply comes from a landfill outside Washington state as most large in-state landfills already capture and sell their RNG either as electricity or transportation fuel to California markets. California state legislation provides price incentives for low carbon fuels making it more lucrative for renewable fuel providers.
For the past three years, the Port has strongly supported legislation creating a statewide Clean Fuel Standard for Washington, which would create incentives for new businesses to produce these fuels for use in Washington.
The Port utilized RNG in 2014 and 2015, but the supply was transferred out of state due to financial incentives offered in California. Once Washington creates a clean fuel standard, the Port will no longer pay a premium for RNG or other renewable fuels used for transportation.