Biomethane, a renewable natural gas, is one way farmers are reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and assisting local utilities with their efforts to move away from fossil fuels. Still, the high price of production has required that it be subsidized in some states; however, as more utilities begin to increase their use of biofuels - and expand its use beyond transportation into heating, cooking and other purposes - production prices could drop to where it becomes competitive with fossil fuel.
Nationwide, more than a dozen utilities have started developing renewable natural gas production through partnerships with farmers, wastewater treatment plants and landfill operators, while nine have proposed price premiums for customers who choose it as a fuel... . Across the country, Vermont Gas hopes to one day supply only renewable natural gas, leveraging the state’s preponderance of dairy farms. The utility’s renewable natural gas supply currently stands at less than 1% of overall volumes, according to spokeswoman Beth Parent. But the company is helping large energy buyers in the state, like cleaning products maker Seventh Generation, Middlebury College and Vermont Coffee Company transition to using biomethane. ... Last year, Dominion Energy (D.N) partnered with meat producer Smithfield Foods on a venture to capture methane emissions from hog farms. On Wednesday, the companies said they would double that investment to $500 million through 2028. By 2029, Dominion and Smithfield said in a statement, they will produce enough renewable natural gas to fuel 70,000 homes.