Smithfield Foods, Dominion Energy JV brings pig power to Utah

Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy have completed the first RNG project through their joint venture, Align Renewable Natural Gas.

Located in Milford, Utah, the project is now producing RNG from a network of 26 family farms that raise pigs under contract with Smithfield.

The project is the first large-scale effort in Utah to capture methane from pig farming operations and convert it into clean energy from homes, businesses, and transportation.

At full capacity, the project will produce enough RNG to heat more than 3,000 homes and businesses, and reduce annual emissions from participating farms by more than 100,000 tonnes – equivalent to taking 23,000 cars off the road or planting 1.8 million trees each year.

“We’re excited to witness the completion of our initial project in Utah, as we continue to scale and implement renewable energy projects across the country,” said Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables and hog production environmental affairs at Smithfield Foods.

“Our Align RNG partnership with Dominion Energy is a key component of Smithfield’s carbon reduction strategy, which promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our domestic supply chain by 25% by 2050 and become carbon-negative in all US company-owned operations by 2030.”

In the largest venture of its kind in the US, Dominion and Smithfield are jointly investing $500 million over the next decade to develop RNG projects across the country.

Once the partnership’s planned projects are complete, they will reduce annual GHG emissions from US pig farms by 2.5 million tonnes – equivalent to taking 500,000 cars off the road or planting 40 million trees each year.

With the Utah project operational and additional projects under development in North Carolina and Virginia, the partnership plans to produce enough RNG over the next 10 years to heat more than 70,000 homes and businesses.

Ryan Childress, Dominion Energy’s director of gas business development, said: “This is an exciting breakthrough for the future of clean energy and sustainable farming.

“With this single technology, we can produce clean energy for consumers, reduce farm emissions and benefit family farmers. It’s a powerful example of the environmental progress we can make through innovation.

“We’re thrilled Utah is leading the way and we’re excited to keep the momentum going in other states across the country.”

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