Chief development officer says utility is "keen" to apply expertise in the RNG space.

By Callum Cyrus

Liberty, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ontario's Algonquin Power & Utilities (AQN), has closed on the acquisition of renewable natural gas (RNG) project developer Sandhill Advanced Biofuels, Liberty said on August 16.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but it marks Liberty's first ever play in non-regulated RNG services. Company officials say more of Liberty's customers are demanding renewable energy sources, and believe RNG will complement its investments in wind, solar and hydro.

Sandhill's portfolio comprises four RNG production sites in Wisconsin that sequester methane from anaerobic digestion plants at dairy farms. The first two Wisconsin sites have already launched, with the remaining projects due online in 2023

Once fully operational, around 500 mnBtu/day of RNG will be extracted from the Sandhill portfolio, delivering gas into the regional distribution grid and also serving transport sector clients.

Wisconsin farm owners can access Sandhill's RNG technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonise waste management processes, and will also receive "ancillary revenue" for hosting infrastructure for the facilities.

Jeff Norman, chief development officer at AQN, said: "We're keen to apply our development skills to projects in the RNG space. And, in the spirit of our company's business model and values, we remain committed to working with local stakeholders as we seek to build out this new business segment."

Liberty has also joined a New York-led hydrogen production ecosystem that will span multiple US states. The project is being championed by New York State governor Kathy Hochul, and the NY State Energy Research and Development Authority.

At least four clean hydrogen hubs will be delivered under the programme, with one of those likely to be delivered by Liberty's consortium, supporting New York's goal of slashing GHG emissions by 85% before 2050.

Norman added: "Liberty is committed to delivering innovative clean energy solutions to its customers and communities, and forging strategic partnerships with like-minded public and private stakeholders focused on advancing the adoption of cost-effective, clean energy solutions for a collective sustainable future."