May 6, 2021. Southern Company Gas has taken ownership of the Meadow Branch Landfill Methane Recovery Facility, the renewable natural gas (RNG) facility located at the Meadow Branch Landfill in Athens, Tenn., from sister company PowerSecure. The facility is now operated by Southern Company Gas Renewables, a new subsidiary dedicated to growing Southern Company Gas’ ability to provide customers with sustainable fuels. The company is pursuing RNG as part of Southern Company’s goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions enterprise-wide by 2050 and its strategy to increase access to clean, safe, reliable and affordable fuel for customers.
“This is another important step toward realizing our vision for a sustainable energy future,” said Southern Company Gas Executive Vice President of External Affairs and Chief Public and External Affairs Officer Bryan Batson, who provides oversight of the new subsidiary. “Developing RNG to sell to customers is a practical, cost-effective method for reducing GHG emissions.”
The RNG facility at Meadow Branch captures gas produced by the landfill and upgrades it to pipeline–quality gas that can be used by any natural gas appliance or other end-user, creating a simple and cost-effective solution for customers. In 2020, the facility produced 340,000 MMBtu of RNG, enough to serve about 3,400 homes for a year. Using this instead of geologic gas avoids nearly 18,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide in a year. It would require 22,000 acres of U.S. forest to abate that much carbon dioxide over the same period.
“The experience we gain operating the Meadow Branch RNG plant will give us greater ability to develop utility–owned RNG facilities throughout our footprint, helping to enable each of our subsidiaries to meet state and regional climate goals,” said Batson. “We believe RNG offers an economical path forward for reducing emissions while supporting local development and job creation.”
Assuming control of the RNG plant also enables Southern Company Gas Renewables to potentially provide RNG directly to Southern Company Gas subsidiaries’ residential, business and retail customers, as well as to Southern Company Gas’ own automotive fleet. Additionally, it may provide customers with savings, compared to purchasing RNG at market costs.