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Pioneering alliance to decarbonise farming in America

Over $200m to be invested in biogas production

Farming union says biogas will improve viability of family-owned dairy farms

Alliance will deliver a cut in carbon emissions of 450,000 tons

Dominion Energy and Vanguard Renewables have announced a more than $200 million, nationwide strategic partnership to convert methane from US dairy farms into clean, renewable natural gas (RNG) that can heat homes, power businesses and fuel vehicles. Multiple projects are under development in Georgia, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah with additional projects planned nationwide.

Under the strategic partnership, Dominion Energy will own the projects and market the RNG, and Vanguard Renewables’ subsidiary Clean Energy Investment USA and Vanguard Renewables Ag will design, develop and operate the projects.

Transformational projects

“Through our strategic partnership with Vanguard Renewables and our strategic alliance with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), we’re rapidly accelerating the development of these transformational projects and for the first time on a nationwide scale,” said Diane Leopold, Dominion Energy’s Co-Chief Operating Officer. “The environmental, consumer and agricultural benefits of these projects are truly ground-breaking. We’re substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions from US dairy farms, delivering new sources of clean energy to US consumers and providing a new source of long-term revenue for family farmers across the country.”

Dominion Energy is a national leader in clean energy, with the fourth largest US solar fleet and the largest offshore wind project in the US under development along the coast of Virginia. It has pledged to reduce methane emissions from its natural gas production by 55% by 2030. The company has already joined forces with Smithfield Foods to form the largest agricultural-based RNG partnership in the US, with $500 million committed over 10 years to convert methane from US hog farms into clean energy for local consumers.

RNG benefits farms and the environment

By capturing methane from US dairy farms and converting it into RNG, Dominion Energy’s and Vanguard Renewables’ strategic partnership will reduce annual CO2 equivalent emissions by more than 450,000 metric tons, the same as taking nearly 100,000 cars off the road or planting 7.5 million new trees each year.

“Our multi-year alliance with Dairy Farmers of America demonstrates Vanguard Renewables’ commitment to working with the dairy community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance long-term operational and economic benefits for family farmers. For the first time, dairies across the country have partners with substantial financial resources and a deep understanding of the dairy industry working alongside them to take action now to solve these challenges,” said Kevin Chase, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Vanguard Renewables and Chief Executive Officer of Vanguard Renewables Ag. “This strategic partnership with Dominion Energy and DFA will have a meaningful impact on greenhouse gas sequestration and dairy waste-to-energy production that will significantly benefit the farm community and the environment.”

Vanguard Renewables is the national leader in the development of food and dairy waste-to-energy projects. Vanguard Renewables Ag focuses on the development and operation of dairy waste-to-energy projects that improve manure and nutrient management and produce clean energy. Host farmers receive a new income stream and can remain focused on farm operations while Vanguard professionally develops and operates the on-farm facilities.

“As the leading dairy cooperative in the US, we have a long-standing commitment to help family farmer-owners solve challenges,” said David Darr, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer of the DFA. “Our strategic alliance with Vanguard Renewables and Dominion Energy provides a meaningful solution to the greenhouse gas emissions challenge we face, supports stewardship of the land, and enhances the long-term economic viability for farms across the US. This is a win-win for the dairy farmers and for the environment.”

Central upgrading

A typical dairy waste-to-energy project consists of a cluster of multiple farms totalling 20,000 to 30,000 dairy cows. The methane produced from dairy manure is captured through a process known as Farm Powered® anaerobic digestion and is then transported through low-pressure gathering lines to a central conditioning facility. Once the gas is processed and cleaned of any impurities, it is then delivered to local consumers through the existing underground distribution network.

The DFA is a national dairy marketing cooperative with more than 14,000 members on more than 8,000 farms in 48 states. DFA farmer-owners are committed to responsible farming and environmental sustainability. Alongside being one of the country’s most diversified manufacturers of dairy products, food components and ingredients, DFA and its member farms are focused on developing innovative farming and manufacturing solutions that enhance food safety and support the communities in which they operate.

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