Renewable natural gas: green innovation from the city of Saint-Hyacinthe and Gaz Métro

October 7, 2014 - Press releases

Saint-Hyacinthe, October 7, 2014 – Today, the city of Saint-Hyacinthe and Gaz Métro announced the conclusion of a draft agreement for the purchase and injection of renewable natural gas produced in the city's biomethanation centre. Under the agreement, Gaz Métro will purchase up to 13 million cubic metres of renewable natural gas per year for a 20-year period. Throughout the same period, Saint-Hyacinthe will inject the gas into Gaz Métro's distribution network through infrastructure to be built by the company. A proposal is soon to be submitted to the Régie de l'énergie for approval.

Saint-Hyacinthe is Québec's first city to turn organic matter into biomethane and subsequently apply it to its energy needs. Under the terms of the agreement, the surplus will be sold to Gaz Métro, thus generating income that can be put toward improving municipal services.

“Gaz Métro is committed to providing its customers with natural gas produced in Québec. As a public service, we wish to open our distribution network to the injection of locally produced natural gas, thus ensuring the connection between producers and consumers,” said Martin Imbleau, the company's Vice-President of Development and Renewable Energies. “Gaz Métro is particularly proud to partner in this project, which opens the way to a type of renewable energy that absolutely must be expanded in Québec.”

A green pioneer

Saint-Hyacinthe implemented the collection of organic waste in 2007 and has been treating sludge from wastewater through biomethanation since 2010. This fall, the city is preparing to produce natural gas from organic waste collected through the brown bin programs in the Les Maskoutains and Acton RCMs. The bin contents will also be processed at the anaerobic digestion plant in Saint-Hyacinthe, thus avoiding transport to external composting sites.

Saint-Hyacinthe has begun recycling organic matter from local agri-food businesses, who can now simply dispose of their organic waste in an environmentally friendly manner and at a lower cost.

For the city of Saint-Hyacinthe, the project's total value stands at more than $48 million, a sum provided in equal parts by the city and subsidies from the federal and provincial governments. In a few years, the city will amortize and then self-finance the cost of constructing its organic waste reclamation and biomethanation plants.

“In 2016–2017, once our biomethanation facility is fully operational, the city will make a significant annual profit, including savings of a half-million dollars in fuel and heating costs for municipal buildings and vehicles,” said Saint-Hyacinthe Mayor Claude Corbeil. “By maximizing the reclamation of organic waste from brown bins, residents and agri-food businesses are taking a positive step for the environment and generating a source of income that the city will be able to use to improve services. Saint-Hyacinthe is proud to innovate with such green, profitable and sustainable practices.”

Saint-Hyacinthe at a glance

Located on the shores of Rivière Yamaska, the city of Saint-Hyacinthe, founded in the mid-19th century, has a total area of over 189 km2. With a population of more than 56,000 residents, it is a major administrative hub for Montérégie. Commercial activity in the region includes over 300 retail outlets at two shopping malls along with a downtown core near the public market. Built in 1830, the building is the oldest of Québec's public markets. In addition, the city boasts an exceptional variety of recreational facilities, providing Les Maskoutains residents with an outstanding quality of life. Culture is also near to residents' hearts. Centre des arts Juliette-Lassonde, a performance venue for professional-calibre entertainment, was honoured with a Félix award in the “Venue of the year” category at the ADISQ galas in 2009 and 2011. The region's economy and employment profile are largely dependent on the agricultural and agri-food industries, with Saint-Hyacinthe being the first Canadian city to be named an agri-food technology centre, in 1993. Its technology park, one of the few in the world to be devoted exclusively to the agri-food industry, was named the best new technology park in the world by the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) at its 2011 gala of excellence.

About Gaz Métro

With more than $5 billion in assets, Gaz Métro is a leading energy provider. It is the largest natural gas distribution company in Québec, where its network of over 10,000 km of underground pipelines serves 300 municipalities and more than 190,000 customers. Gaz Métro is also present in Vermont, producing electricity and distributing electricity and natural gas to meet the needs of more than 305,000 customers. Gaz Métro is actively involved in the development of innovative, promising energy projects such as the production of wind power, the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel and the development of biomethane. Gaz Métro is a major energy sector player that takes the lead in responding to the needs of its customers, regions and municipalities, local organizations, and communities while also satisfying the expectations of its Partners (GMi and Valener) and employees.

Information:

City of Saint-Hyacinthe
Brigitte Massé
Director of Communications
450 778-8384

Gaz Métro
Estelle Lacroix
Senior Advisor, Public Affairs
514 598-3449
www.twitter.com/gazmetro
www.gazmetro.com/salledepresse
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