Coop Agri-Énergie Warwick: a sustainable new business model for the agricultural sector

Launch of Québec’s first agricultural cooperative to be dedicated to producing renewable energy

Warwick, Monday, December 16, 2019 – The creation of Coop Agri-Énergie Warwick marks a major step toward increasing the production of renewable natural gas (RNG) in Québec. This agricultural cooperative will be the first to turn manure, as well as organic residue from area businesses, into RNG.

Developed and run by Coop Carbone, the project will allow a dozen farmers to diversify their income streams while reducing their GHG emissions. A new biomethanization plant will make it possible to produce 2.3 million m3 of RNG and cut GHG emissions by 6,500 tonnes of CO2 eq each year, equivalent to taking 1,500 cars of the road. Énergir has pledged to buy all of the RNG the cooperative produces for 20 years; it will inject the RNG into its gas distribution network. Construction of the facility will begin in the spring of 2020, with the plant to be commissioned in the fall of 2020.

The $12M project is getting $3M in funding from the Québec government under the Technoclimat program administered by Transition énergétique Québec, and a repayable public contribution of $1.7M from Canada Economic Development for Québec’s regions under the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program.

A collaborative project

This initial agricultural biomethanization project is made possible thanks to support from many partners and collaborators, including the Québec government, Desjardins Group, Investissement Québec, Fondaction, the Réseau d’investissement social du Québec, La Coop fédérée and the Conseil Québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité. Génitique, a Québec expert with a strong track record in developing biomethanization projects, is handling the complex’s design, construction and commissioning. The choice of technologies also proved important, with participation by Québec suppliers Dominion & Grimm Environnement and Air Science, which will respectively supply the anaerobic digestors and purification system.


Quotes

“Warwick is proud to support this innovative project which is in line with its environmental policy and will enable our farmers to participate in the energy transition by producing a sought-after renewable energy, in addition to creating wealth for the entire community.”
- Diego Scalzo
Mayor of Warwick

“This project, which is the fruit of many years of collaboration with numerous stakeholders, shows that it is possible to reduce GHG emissions while creating wealth for farmers. Like many countries around the world, our model demonstrates the importance and relevance of agriculture’s place in the energy transition, and in developing biomethanization in Québec.”
- Jean Nolet
President and CEO, Coop Carbone

“As farmers, we are proud to play a key role in combating climate change. This project provides a number of co-benefits, not just for farmers, but also for businesses in the region. The circular economy model will enable better reclamation of manure and other local organic residues, and yield higher quality fertilizing materials for members, all while diversifying their income streams. I also think this sends a positive message from the agricultural sector, showing that it can make a substantial contribution to Québec’s energy transition.”
- Urs Studhalter
President, Coop Agri-Énergie Warwick

“Today, we honour the avant-garde vision of the member farmers who joined in this innovative project, Coop Agri-Énergie Warwick. This first project demonstrates the real potential of producing renewable natural gas from the agricultural sector. These new volumes of renewable natural gas will give Énergir customers the benefit of the energy’s environmental advantages at a competitive cost.”
- Éric Lachance
Senior Vice President, Énergir

“Desjardins has worked alongside Coop Carbone since its earliest days. This is another great example of teamwork, as well as helping the cause of energy transition. Desjardins is giving Coop Carbone $250,000 from its $100M socioeconomic development fund. This spotlights the action taken by our agriculture sector members, who contribute, day by day, to building a more carbon-lean economy. Developing this new sector is one of many actions taken by Desjardins and its members to support the objectives of the Paris Accord on combating and adapting to climate change.”
- Pauline D’Amboise
Secretary General and Vice-President,
Governance and Social Responsibility, Desjardins Group


About Coop Agri-Énergie Warwick

Founded in 2019, Coop Agri-Énergie Warwick is the first agricultural cooperative to be entirely dedicated to producing RNG in Québec. The creation, in conjunction with Coop Carbone, of a cooperative agricultural biomethanization complex allows members to diversify their income streams and participate in Québec’s energy transition. By reducing GHG emissions from farming, Coop Agri-Énergie Warwick is also taking concrete action on the climate emergency.

About Coop Carbone

Coop Carbone is a non-profit solidarity cooperative whose mission is to help combat climate change by supporting deployment of collaborative projects. Active in the carbon market and in the agriculture/agri-food, energy and mobility sectors, Coop Carbone draws on its relationship with its members and various public and private partners to develop collaborative projects that create collective wealth.

About Énergir

With more than $8 billion in assets, Énergir is a diversified energy company whose mission is to meet the energy needs of its 525,000 customers and the communities it serves in an increasingly sustainable way. In Québec, it is the leading natural gas distribution company and also produces, through its subsidiaries, electricity from wind power. In the United States, through its subsidiaries, the company operates in nearly fifteen states, where it produces electricity from hydraulic, wind and solar sources, in addition to being the leading electricity distributor and the sole natural gas distributor in Vermont. Énergir values energy efficiency and invests both resources and efforts in innovative energy projects such as renewable natural gas and liquefied and compressed natural gas. Through its subsidiaries, it also provides a variety of energy services. Énergir hopes to become the partner of choice for those striving toward a better energy future.

About Desjardins Group

Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the fifth largest in the world, with assets of $312.7 billion. It has been rated one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the World’s Strongest Banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

For more information
Mélissa Bradette
TACT
Cell: 418 540-0324
mbradette@tactconseil.ca