Florida Regulators OK Renewable Natural Gas Program

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The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) recently approved a renewable natural gas (RNG) program for Peoples Gas System, marking the first time a Florida natural gas utility will offer biogas producers the option of delivering RNG into its distribution system.

As the PSC explains, RNG – biogas that has been processed to meet pipeline quality standards – is produced from materials such as wastewater treatment plants, landfills, municipal solid waste, livestock manure, and agricultural waste. Peoples Gas has been approached by landfill operators and wastewater treatment plant owners who want to deliver RNG into the utility’s distribution system.

According to the PSC, the biogas producer could use the RNG onsite or contract with a customer who will purchase the RNG from the biogas producer. Potential customers may include compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling stations and industrial customers, or Peoples could purchase the RNG, thus displacing a portion of traditional (geologic) natural gas with RNG.

Potential RNG projects include waste-to-energy requests for proposals issued by local governments, including Hillsborough, Polk, and Volusia Counties, and the City of St. Petersburg to reuse gas that now escapes into the atmosphere or is flared (burned off).

“We are excited to be the first utility in Florida – and among the first in the country – to offer this innovative new service,” says T.J. Szelistowski, president of Peoples Gas, in a press release. “This is a win for the environment, a win for our customers, and a win for the communities we serve.”

The PSC unanimously approved the new utility service, which will offer the opportunity for Peoples Gas to clean, condition and transport a customer’s biogas. According to the utility, the new conditioning service is expected to be available to customers in 2018.

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