Sunnyside renewable natural gas project moving forward

January 27, 2024. The proposed Sunnyside Renewable Natural Gas facility has completed the Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process, a comprehensive environmental assessment which includes input from relevant regulators and stakeholders including the Washington State Department of Ecology, City of Sunnyside and the local community. Based on the favorable conclusion of this process, Pacific Ag Renewables is moving the project forward.

Located on approximately 50 acres in the Port of Sunnyside Industrial Park, Sunnyside RNG will produce approximately 900,000 MMBtu of RNG per year, enough to power roughly 90,000 homes. Agricultural crop waste and dairy manure from local farmers will be collected and safely transported to the facility. There, the manure will be fed into a series of anaerobic digesters to capture methane that will be conditioned and upgraded prior to being injected into the interstate natural gas pipeline. Additionally, a byproduct of the process is an organic fertilizer that can replace the use of synthetic, petroleum-based fertilizers in the region.

“This milestone reflects the significant efforts we’ve put into developing a plan to make sure the facility is safe, clean and in full compliance with all regulations and best practices,” said Kipp Curtis, Sunnyside RNG Project Manager “We absolutely will build and operate a plant that will make the Sunnyside community proud.”

The facility will also help solve the challenges associated with dairy manure management by aggregating and processing the manure in sealed tanks (called “digesters”), which provides measurable environmental benefits by reducing odors and emissions while capturing methane. Sunnyside RNG will divert dairy manure that otherwise would enter lagoons and produce renewable natural gas that will replace fossil-based fuels for home heating and trucking fleets.

Sunnyside RNG production represents an annual CO2 emissions reduction equivalent to removing 40,000 cars a year from the road. When fully operational, it will create approximately 30 full time employment positions with an annual estimated payroll of $2 million in addition to a dozen trucking jobs and another 26 indirect jobs (according to the Yakima County Development Association).

The core technology used in the facility is well-developed and tested. In the U.S. today there are over 2,400 operational biogas plants with 350 producing RNG for injection into the interstate pipeline with over 470 utilizing farm waste feedstocks. There are an estimated 150 RNG plants currently in development or construction across the U.S. with the potential for thousands more based on the volume of available low-carbon waste streams.

Groundbreaking could commence in the second quarter of 2024 with RNG production in mid-2025.