RICHMOND, Va. -- Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods announced a joint venture Tuesday that will convert waste methane into renewable energy.
The companies say the partnership, called Align Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), will “transform the future” of sustainable energy and agriculture.
The project will capture manure from hog farms across the region and convert it into renewable natural gas to generate electricity, heat homes and power local industries, according to officials.
By capturing methane that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, officials say the use of RNG leads to a significant reduction in methane emissions from the agriculture and energy industries.
"Our companies recognize the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the future of our planet. RNG is an innovative and proven way to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture industry by converting it into clean renewable energy," said Thomas Farrell, II, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Dominion Energy. "RNG is considered carbon-negative because it captures significantly more greenhouse gas emissions than are released from its end use in homes and businesses."
Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods announced that they are investigating $250 million into the program over the next decade.
The initiative falls in line with Smithfield’s pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
"At Smithfield, we recognize true, enduring sustainability initiatives require collaboration with other proven innovators who share a similar vision," said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods. "Dominion Energy is one such proven innovator and we are proud to partner with them in our longstanding pursuit of renewable energy. Align RNG is part of our nationwide expansion of Smithfield Renewables, innovative projects designed to help meet our goal to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2025."
The first projects have been announced in Virginia, North Carolina and Utah and are slated to begin by late 2019.