Landfill gas management

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Every day in Kelowna some 300 tonnes of garbage arrive at the Glenmore Landfill. As this garbage decomposes, greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide, are produced and enter the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

Today, landfills are being recognized as a source of valuable energy providing heat and electricity for public consumption if handled effectively. Composed of 50 per cent methane, landfill gas is an ideal energy source and is captured through a series of underground pipes called a recovery system. 

The Glenmore Landfill has collected landfill gas for thermal destruction and for utilization since 2005. The volume of gas will increase over the next five to 10 years and will be significant for another 50 years or more. In 2010 a business case was completed for transitioning to use more landfill gas either for increased electrical production or for conversion to pipeline gas. The study which compared utilization options concluded that the financial return on the two options was relatively equal. However, the study did identify that a utility or third party ownership could provide additional benefit to the City through reduced operational risk, the provision of initial capital investments, increased green house gas reduction, and by achieving higher efficiency of gas destruction for energy conversion. The open book collaborative approach through the Landfill Gas memorandum of understanding has now provided a signed contract with FortisBC.

The purpose of the Landfill Gas Purchase Agreement is for Fortis BC Energy Inc. to purchase landfill gas from the City contingent upon the City meeting minimal flow and quality requirements. Fortis BC Energy Inc. will buy our raw gas and intends to finance, design, build and operate a conversion facility to enable the gas to be upgraded to pipeline natural gas quality. When converted to pipeline quality gas the landfill gas becomes bio-methane. The Landfill Gas Purchase Agreement for a 15 year term has a net present value of $3.1 to $4.8 million.

In October 2012, Fortis BC Energy Inc. received British Columbia Utilities Commission approval for the project. The next step in the process is to design and construct the required infrastructure to meet the contractual obligations as laid out in the Landfill Gas Purchase Agreement. Specifically, the City's obligations are to provide the piping to a Landfill Gas to Bio-methane conversion facility and to make commercially best efforts to maintain the minimum quality and quantity of landfill gas as specified in the agreement.