TotalEnergies partners in U.S. RNG deal

Working with BlackRock subsidiary Vanguard Renewables

TotalEnergies and Vanguard Renewables, a U.S. leader in farm-based organics-to-renewable natural gas production, have agreed to develop, build, and operate renewable natural gas (RNG) projects in the United States.

TotalEnergies and Vanguard Renewables will advance 10 RNG projects into construction over the next 12 months, with a total annual RNG capacity of 0.8 TWh (2.5 Bcf). The three initial projects in this agreement are currently under construction in Wisconsin and Virginia, each with a unit capacity of nearly 75 GWh (0.25 Bcf) of RNG per year.

TotalEnergies and Vanguard Renewables, a portfolio company of BlackRock’s Diversified Infrastructure business, join forces to develop renewable natural gas (RNG) in the United States. (Image: Vanguard Renewables)

Beyond these first 10 projects, the partners will consider investing together in a potential pipeline of about 60 projects across the country for a total capacity of 5 TWh (15 Bcf) per year.

“By expanding into this fast-growing market, our joint venture will create value for both companies while benefiting the food and farming sectors as well as providing a ready-to-use solution to industrial companies willing to decarbonize their energy supply,” said Olivier Guerrini, vice president, Biogas at TotalEnergies. “This joint venture is a new step for TotalEnergies in achieving its objective to produce 10 TWh of renewable natural gas by 2030.”

Headquartered near Boston, Massachusetts, Vanguard Renewables was founded in 2014 and has a workforce of approximately 260. The company currently operates 17 organics-to-renewable energy facilities with an annual capacity of more than 440 GWh (1.5 Bcf) of RNG. Looking beyond 2024, Vanguard Renewables plans to commission over 100 RNG projects by the end of 2028.

In July 2022, Vanguard Renewables was acquired by BlackRock, through a fund managed by its Diversified Infrastructure business. BlackRock has partnered with Vanguard Renewables’ management to drive the next phase of its growth to support the nationwide expansion of its anaerobic digester projects. BlackRock will remain the majority shareholder of Vanguard Renewables.

“These 10 RNG projects, jointly undertaken by TotalEnergies and Vanguard Renewables as co-investment partners, further reinforce our commitment and ability to deliver on our mission of harnessing the power of waste to decarbonize our planet,” said Neil H. Smith, CEO at Vanguard Renewables.

TotalEnergies and Vanguard Renewables will market the RNG through long-term purchase agreements with buyers actively engaged in decarbonization of their industrial processes.

The first 10 projects are based on a model of waste materials recovery from the food and beverage industries, supplemented with dairy manure from dairy farms. The anaerobic digesters will be built on the dairy farms themselves, which will then recover and manage the digestate (a byproduct of the anaerobic digestion process) as a low-carbon and nutrient dense fertilizer.

To feed its digesters, Vanguard Renewables has established a major network of leading food industry brands across the US and the groundbreaking Farm Powered Strategic Alliance, which gives Alliance members preferred access to recycle their organic waste generated from manufacturing or retail activities and the potential opportunity to purchase the renewable energy generated at a Vanguard Renewables’ facility. The Alliance’s members include multi-national corporations across several verticals, including leading food, beverage, and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

In anticipation of the company’s growing portfolio of anaerobic digesters Vanguard Renewables has expanded its food and beverage diversion services and its organics solutions team to provide service throughout the contiguous United States.

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