SJI breaks ground on renewable natural gas facility supporting N.J.’s vision of clean energy future

Oakridge RNG LLC

As part of its commitment to sustainability, South Jersey Industries and development partner REV LNG broke ground Tuesday to celebrate the construction of a 2 million gallon anaerobic digester at Oakridge Dairy, Connecticut’s largest dairy farm.

This $12M renewable natural gas facility is a pivotal clean energy venture for SJI that will enable Elizabethtown Gas customers to utilize renewable energy.

Based in Folsom, the company said this latest project is testament to its clean energy investment promise to add RNG to its gas supply. SJI purchased a minority interest last year in REV LNG, which specializes in renewable natural gas, compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas, and, as part of the REV LNG agreement, SJI is developing RNG plants at up to 25 dairy farms across the U.S.

The Connecticut Dairy farm in Oakridge is its first one. Expected to be operational by September 2022, the anaerobic digester will capture raw methane and other greenhouse gases produced by manure. The $12 million project will also include constructing additional equipment to transform the collected biogas into commercial-grade, pipeline-quality renewable natural gas that will be integrated into the distribution system of SJI’s subsidiary, Elizabethtown Gas. Its 300,000 customers thus will get some RNG in the fuel mix.

In addition to Oakridge Dairy, SJI and REV LNG plan to build similar RNG-producing plants over the coming year.

“SJI and its subsidiaries, Elizabethtown Gas and South Jersey Gas, are committed to supporting New Jersey’s vision of a clean energy future,” said Melissa Orsen, president, SJI Utilities, and senior vice president, SJI. “By equipping our systems with RNG, this project will enable the over 300,000 customers who depend on Elizabethtown Gas for safe, reliable, affordable clean energy to join us in accomplishing this goal.”

The project will also help to strengthen Oakridge Dairy’s own sustainability efforts. The 3,000-acre, family-owned farm is already a leader in energy-efficient farming, with a 752-panel solar array, 205 high-efficiency barn fans and more than 400 LED commercial lights. With the addition of the anaerobic digester on sight, Oakridge Dairy will help produce close to 60,000 dekatherms of RNG per year, which is enough to offset the environmental impact of 867 passenger vehicle cars.