Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods break ground on largest RNG project in North Carolina
 

August 16, 2019. Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods, Inc. are breaking ground on North Carolina’s largest renewable natural gas (RNG) project through their joint venture, Align Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). Located in Duplin and Sampson counties, this project will generate enough energy to power more than 3,500 homes annually upon completion. Align RNG is a multi-state joint venture between Dominion Energy and Smithfield that will capture methane emissions from hog farms and convert them into RNG to power homes and businesses.

   “Breaking ground on this project with Dominion Energy is an exciting first step in bringing Align RNG to life,” said Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables and hog production environmental affairs for Smithfield Foods. “This project implements proven ‘manure-to-energy’ technology across a number of farms to produce reliable renewable energy for our community and contributes to our company’s ambitious goal to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25% by 2025.”

   As part of this initiative, technology will be installed across as many as 19 area farms to transform manure into RNG that will be processed and injected into existing natural gas distribution systems to serve local homes and businesses. This project is modeled after the Optima KV project, which captures biogas on five Smithfield contract farms in North Carolina, and similar projects on Smithfield farms in Northern Missouri and Utah.

   The 300,000 MMBTU of renewable energy this project is estimated to produce will play a key role in the state of North Carolina’s historic initiative to reduce GHG emissions over the next decade and will help expand the state’s energy portfolio with a reliable source of renewable energy. The sale of RNG generated by these projects will also provide family farmers with an additional source of revenue.

   This is the first “manure-to-energy” project to begin construction under Align RNG since the joint venture was announced in late 2018. Additional projects are planned in North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia, and are projected to produce enough energy to power 14,000 homes and businesses in total. The emissions reduction associated with these projects equate to planting 7.8 million new trees or taking 100,000 passenger vehicles off the road.