"RNG does not obviate the need for Dominion to start phasing out its fossil fuel businesses, and that's exactly what the company seems dead-set on avoiding.". Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair, © 2019 GreenBiz Group Inc. GREENBIZ® and GREENBIZ.COM® are registered trademarks of, The secret to the happy relationship between Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy, Q3 2020: International corporate procurements mature as U.S. deals look to quality, Oregon’s wildfire without a forest proves forest management isn’t enough. First stop: Climate commitments. Environmental Protection Specialist. Ryan Childress, Manager, Business Development, Dominion Energy Blaine Collison, Senior Vice President, David Gardiner and Associates Brian Jones, Senior Vice President, M.J. Bradley & Associates If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. Ryan Childress (left), Dominion Energy's director of gas business development, and Kraig Westerbeek, an executive at pork producer Smithfield Foods, stand on a plastic-covered manure pond in North Carolina. Dan Charles/NPR Interested in face-to-face meeting? Smithfield is appealing those verdicts. Your IP: 108.61.176.255 Ryan Childress (left), Dominion Energy's director of gas business development, and Kraig Westerbeek, an executive at pork producer Smithfield Foods, stand on a … Greenwashing refers to attempts by companies to paint themselves as friends of the environment for public relations purposes. This basic idea — turning manure into energy — is not new. "Smithfield is saying that they're going to come in and cap these lagoons and solve this major climate crisis. In the lagoon, bacteria go to work on the manure, breaking it down. Interested in face-to-face meeting? Some nearby residents would rather see them removed entirely. Some alternatives do exist. RNG and its negative emissions accounting is key to Dominion reaching its carbon neutrality goal by 2050. According to Smithfield, though, they cost too much to adopt on a large scale. In the past, farms tried to make electricity onsite with biodigester engines that were complicated and expensive. Community activists say that capturing methane, by itself, is not the answer. (This calculation does not take into account pipeline methane leaks, estimated to be 2 to 3 percent.). “We’re bringing together small and moderate-size farms and networking them as they join in a hub-and-spoke model to create economy of scale,” he says. When it comes to climate, Smithfield Foods has a tough row to hoe. "The bacterial action releases a biogas that's 60% to 65% methane," Westerbeek says. While capturing biomethane and turning it into usable fuel is clearly beneficial, it becomes problematic if used to delay the pace of electrifying buildings and to justify expanding natural gas, which is quickly becoming one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Smithfield has been looking for ways to use manure beyond fertilizer for years. Many dairy farms are doing similar things, often using biogas on-site to power a generator. If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices. We Insist: A Timeline Of Protest Music In 2020, Florence Engulfs Hog Farms And Chicken Houses, Thrashing North Carolina Agriculture. This is the standard form of treatment for hog waste in this part of the country. This week, Dominion announced a commitment to reach net-zero emissions in power generation and natural gas by 2050 (a step up from its previous commitment of an 80 percent reduction by 2050). Smithfield is striving towards an absolute emissions reductions of 25 percent by 2025, meaning it needs to take into account the emissions associated with its entire supply chain — including the methane from the 15 million pigs it raises annually, which account for about 40 to 45 percent of the company’s emissions. "When we start to get into this energy business, we look at this and we think, ‘We’re not energy experts,’ and a company like Dominion is. Dominion has worked with other private companies on renewable energy initiatives as well. For people who worry about climate change, it's a clear win. Methane is a greenhouse gas with a warming impact at least 25 times greater, per pound, than carbon dioxide. We intend to see that through and make a big difference for the environment, for farmers, and for customers who are looking for low-carbon energy." Ryan Childress. Last year, tech giants with data centers in Virginia, including Microsoft, LinkedIn and Apple, demanded the utility deploy renewable energy to meet any increase in power, rather than natural gas-fired power plants proposed by Dominion. Dominion Energy . California Energy Commission. In a release, the company said that capturing the methane from farms will offset "any remaining methane and carbon dioxide emissions from the company's natural gas operations. Over the past two years, North Carolina residents have won a series of lawsuits that accused a Smithfield subsidiary of causing a public nuisance. • At this lagoon, though, the gas is trapped by a blanket of rugged black plastic that covers the manure pond. "I think they can do better," says Devon Hall, who founded the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH), which is based in Warsaw, N.C. "There's at least eight to 10 swine operations within a 2-mile radius of where I live and work," Hall says. Hall has not been involved in those lawsuits. "We've got half a billion dollars behind it. What's left is almost pure methane, also called natural gas, ready to burn in any gas-fired home furnace or electric power plant. We intend to see that through and make a big difference for the environment, for farmers, and for customers who are looking for low-carbon energy.". Ryan W. Childress is director-gas business partnership development, Gas Infrastructure Group. This article is adapted from GreenBiz's newsletter Energy Weekly, running Thursdays. Cloudflare Ray ID: 5ec4deeae9bf0843 The market has attracted resources from across North America — including Missouri and Canada — and California’s agriculture department has funded more than 60 (PDF) of dairy biogas projects, with plans to expand. One company can’t solve this issue, but there’s always an expectation for companies to do their part and for companies to stand for something. The investment expands operations that capture the methane from manure lagoons of Smithfield’s pig farmers, which is then processed by Dominion and can be used interchangeably with fracked natural gas in pipelines. People who live near those farms have complained about the smell, especially when farmers spray waste on fields. Dominion has cut methane emissions from leaks by 25 percent in the last decade and has pledged to reduce them by another 65 percent by 2030, Childress said. rather than natural gas-fired power plants proposed by Dominion. "Recently, we have begun to hear of investor concern that at least in some states, municipal-level ordinances could limit overall demand growth for natural gas utility service," Farrell said. Next stop: Climate action? Ryan W. Childress is responsible for sourcing, analysis and execution of new business strategies for Dominion Energy’s Gas Infrastructure Group. Twice in recent years, manure lagoons have flooded during hurricanes. Another way to prevent getting this page in the future is to use Privacy Pass.

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