Clinton, Maine (September 21, 2023) - Peaks Renewables (Peaks), a subsidiary of Summit Utilities, Inc., announces Maine's first renewable natural gas (RNG) dairy digester is delivering gas. The facility is now injecting home-grown gas derived from dairy waste onto Summit Natural Gas of Maine’s (Summit) distribution system. This is the first time in Maine that gas produced from a digester is being used to heat homes and businesses.
"Renewable natural gas development has tremendous benefits to offer. By partnering with Maine’s dairy industry and family farms from throughout the state, we are able to generate home-grown gas to heat homes and warm businesses while creating green jobs and supporting our agricultural heritage,” said Angus King III, President of Peaks Renewables. “Using existing infrastructure to gather emissions and create something of value for people in Maine is a big win, and it’s very exciting to see this project come to life.”
The RNG dairy digester, located in Clinton, Maine, is the first of its kind to produce gas from cow manure that will produce natural gas to heat Maine homes and businesses. Once in the digester, the manure is heated and decomposed, creating biogas. The gas is then cleaned to meet Summit’s gas quality standards. It is then added to Summit's system, which services thousands of customers throughout the state, while the renewable attribute is sold to other third parties for their use. The fuel created in the digestor is functionally identical to traditional natural gas and can be used for heating, cooking, and other processes. The project is expected to produce about 45% of Summit's residential demand.
Peaks' digester is at Flood Brothers' farm in Clinton. The project receives dairy manure from the Floods and Gold Top Farm, Wright Place Farm, Taylor Dairy Farm, and Heifer Haven Farm, among other farms in the state.
Peaks announced the project in 2019 and held a groundbreaking on the RNG dairy digester in July 2022. The goal of the digester is to support the local economy and family farms while reducing emissions by creating home-grown renewable natural gas.
Peaks estimates the facility will avoid emissions equating to 28,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. That's the equivalent of taking 6,500 cars off the road for every year it operates. Along with adding the home-grown gas to the Summit system, Peaks will sell the renewable attributes to third parties to meet their decarbonization goals.
In addition to generating pipeline-quality, carbon-negative renewable natural gas, the facility will also produce animal bedding and fertilizer that Peaks will give back to the local dairy farms participating in the project for their daily operations. This unique manure-only project is the 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.
What community leaders are saying about the project:
Dan Burgess, Director of the Maine Governor’s Energy Office said, “This project, the first of its kind in the state, is an example of the creativity, innovation, and collaboration occurring in Maine in support of the state’s bold clean energy and climate targets. Importantly, this project also provides additional economic opportunity for Maine’s rural dairy farmers. We are excited to see this project in action.”
U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree (ME-1) said, “With methane being one of the most potent greenhouse gases that’s released into the atmosphere, farmers are an important part of our collective fight against climate change. Today, with the completion of this unique, first of its kind project in Maine, we see our farmers taking an active role in being part of the climate solution, and our state’s sustainable energy future is coming into focus. As a longtime organic farmer who has made addressing the climate crisis a top priority in Congress, I have proudly supported the federal funding that has helped to bring this project to life, and I commend Peaks Renewables and Summit Utilities for taking on this important project to reduce emissions and develop home-grown, renewable natural gas.”
U.S. Representative Jared Golden (ME-2) said, “Maine needs an all of the above approach to addressing our energy and economic needs. This partnership between Peaks Renewables, Summit Utilities and family farms throughout central Maine is a perfect example of the innovative and sustainable solutions we can find to address climate change, drive rural economic development, and build energy resilience all while warming homes and fueling businesses. I hope to see more projects like this in the future.”
Jenni Tilton-Flood with Flood Brothers Farm said, "Maine’s dairy community and industry plays an important role in the strength of the state’s economy and our culture, which is way why it’s critical we find new and innovative ways to ensure our animals thrive, our workers and communities are cared for, our milk is fresh for our neighbors and most importantly our operations have an eye toward sustainability and environmental impact. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Peaks and Summit to utilize the abundant resources of our farms and our cows to unlock this renewable resource that can used to benefit Maine families, communities and businesses through the generation of home-grown natural gas. We are proud to be the home of sustainable, local nutrition and energy."