Peaks Renewables, a subsidiary of Summit Utilities focused on investing in technologies to decarbonize thermal energy, broke ground on Maine’s first renewable natural gas (RNG) dairy digester on July 6, 2022, in Clinton, Maine.
The project was first announced in 2019 by Summit, with the goal of supporting the local economy and family farms while also reducing emissions by creating home-grown renewable natural gas that can be used to warm homes and fuel industry. To develop the project, the company is working with six Maine-based, family-owned dairy farms to generate homegrown RNG.
Located at Flood Brothers’ farm in Clinton, the project will receive dairy manure from the Floods and from Gold Top Farm, Somerset Farm, Wright Place Farm, Taylor Dairy Farm, Heifer Haven Farm, and other farms. Once in the digester, the manure will be heated and decomposed, creating biogas. The gas will then be cleaned to make it pipeline quality.
Renewable energy credits will be sold to third parties who need them for their own decarbonization requirements. The gas itself will be purchased by Peaks’ affiliate company, Summit Natural Gas of Maine (SNGME), and used to provide reliable gas service to its thousands of customers throughout the state. To put the project into perspective, it will produce the equivalent of about 45 percent of SNGME’s residential demand.
Carbon beneficial RNG is functionally identical to traditional natural gas and can be used for heating, cooking, and other processes.
Peaks estimates that the facility will avoid emissions equating to 28,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. In addition to generating pipeline-quality, carbon-negative renewable natural gas, the facility will also produce animal bedding and fertilizer that will be returned to the local dairy farms participating in the project to use in their daily operations. This unique manure-only project is first of its kind in Maine and joins a number of projects across the country that are already using this technology to remove emissions and create RNG.