A 3 Step Program To Help Build A Sustainable Energy Future

Summit Utilities Inc., the parent company of Summit Natural Gas of Maine Inc., is committed to strengthening the natural gas system’s contributions to a sustainable energy future. Since coming to Maine six years ago, the company has put a strong focus on investing in energy efficiency and converting homes, small businesses and industrial customers from oil and propane to cleaner burning natural gas to reduce carbon emissions. The company’s new Renewable Natural Gas Program is the next step in our ongoing efforts to support our local economy and fight climate change.

Step 1:

Investing in Home-Grown Renewable Natural Gas

This year, by partnering with Maine’s dairy and agricultural communities, Summit Utilities (Summit), the parent company of Summit Natural Gas of Maine (SNGME), plans to construct an anaerobic digestion facility in Central Maine. Located in the heart of Maine’s dairy country, this facility will provide SNGME’s customers with locally sourced natural gas to heat their homes, power their appliances and run their businesses.

By bringing together Maine’s agricultural and energy sectors we can pave the way for home-grown energy.

How it works:

Summit is proposing to construct an anaerobic digestion facility in Clinton, known as Maine’s dairy capital, because its five dairy farms make up 17 percent of the state’s dairy production*. The proposed digester facility will receive dairy manure from family farms in Clinton and other areas in Maine. Once in the digester, the manure will be heated and decomposed, creating biogas. The gas will then be cleaned to remove impurities. Biomethane is nearly identical to traditional natural gas and can be used for heating, cooking and other processes. The renewable attributes from the digester will be sold to third parties to help them meet their emissions reduction goals.

Summit anticipates the digester will supply approximately 125,000 MMBtu of gas a year.

The facility will produce four outputs:

  • a liquid that has all the nutrients from the manure. It will be returned to the dairy farmers to use as fertilizer for their fields,
  • fiber material that will be returned to the dairy farmers to use as compost or bedding for their cows,
  • natural gas that will be put into Summit’s pipeline and used to heat homes and businesses in Maine, and
  • renewable attributes that will be sold to companies to reduce their carbon emissions.

Summit expects the digester will be commissioned and producing gas by the first quarter of 2021 pending approval and permitting from the proper regulatory bodies.

*https://dairystar.com/Content/News/Daily-News/Article/A-glance-at-Flood-Brothers-Farm/1/256/14516

Step 2:

Jumpstarting the Renewable Natural Gas Industry and Displacing Emissions Through Attributes

In addition to the RNG digester, SNGME plans to match 5 percent of its Maine residential gas demand for the next year by purchasing renewable natural gas attributes (similar to carbon credits), all at no cost to customers.

By purchasing environmental attributes that come from the RNG that is produced at a landfill digester, SNGME is deepening its commitment to a more sustainable energy future in Maine, and using its purchase to raise awareness and encourage other utilities and customers to support renewable natural gas.

Step 3:

Giving Customers a Renewable Choice

At Summit we want our customers to have the opportunity to participate in our renewable program, which is why, in addition to matching 5 percent of SNGME’s residential gas demand with RNG attributes, we are launching a voluntary renewable program for our customers. This program will allow Maine customers to help fund the purchase of additional RNG attributes to further reduce their carbon footprint.

How it works:

Customers enrolling in the program may elect to match 10 to 100 percent of their average annual usage with RNG attributes as an additional fee on their bill. The RNG attributes will be added and shown on enrolled customers’ bill based on the percentage selection made at time of sign-up. The adder will be a flat monthly fee based upon the RNG attribute price. More details of the program will be made available once approved.

Please call (800) 909-7642 if your interested in signing up!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Renewable Natural Gas?

Renewable natural gas (RNG) is pipeline-quality biogas created from the decomposition of organic material through anaerobic digestion. The organic material includes things like animal waste, woody biomass, crop residuals, energy crops and food waste. It is sourced from waste streams and renewable biomass sources, such as farms, landfills, wastewater treatment plants and industrial sites. Renewable natural gas is interchangeable with traditional natural gas, and fully compatible with the U.S. pipeline infrastructure. Like traditional natural gas, RNG can be used in homes and businesses, in manufacturing and heavy industries, for electricity production and as transportation fuel. Renewable natural gas has the potential to play a significant role in the future energy mix. Renewable natural gas is one of the few options that can reduce greenhouse gas, create jobs and enhance America’s energy security, using proven and available technologies.

For more information about RNG, please visit:

American Gas Association Report

National Grid White Paper

For more information, we encourage you to look at the AGA site here: https://www.aga.org/research/reports/renewable-natural-gas-rng/ and the recent report from National Grid here: https://www9.nationalgridus.com/non_html/NG_renewable_WP.pdf


Why is Summit promoting RNG?

Summit Natural Gas of Maine, Inc. (Summit) is committed to a sustainable energy future. Since coming to Maine six years ago, the company has put a strong focus on investing in energy efficiency and converting homes, small businesses and industrial customers from oil and propane to cleaner burning natural gas to reduce carbon emissions. We established our Renewable Natural Gas Programas the next step in our ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in innovative technologies that mitigate climate change. Renewable natural gas can help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase domestic energy production, improve waste management, and be an innovative source for new green jobs, all while using a gas infrastructure system that is already in place and safely supplying energy throughout the country today.


What are RNG attributes?

Renewable natural gas attributes are the environmental and social qualities associated with the production of RNG. When RNG is produced, RNG attributes are created. Money from the purchase of RNG attributes is used to support RNG projects.


Can I participate in Summits's Voluntary Renewable Natural Gas Attribute Program now?

Not yet, but we anticipate customers will be able to enroll soon. We are asking the Maine Public Utilities Commission for approval our Voluntary Renewable Natural Gas Attribute Program. We will notify customers when the program is approved. In the meantime, we are offsetting five percent of our residential gas demand for the next year by purchasing – at no cost to customers – RNG attributes created at an RNG-producing landfill. Through our purchases of RNG attributes, we are deepening our commitment to a more sustainable energy future, raising awareness of RNG and encouraging customers and other utilities to support RNG.


Once the Program is available, how do I sign up?

After the Maine Public Utilities Commission approves our Voluntary Renewable Natural Gas Attribute Program, customers will be able to participate in the program by calling our customer service team at (800) 909-7642. Once you sign up, we will add an additional amount to your bill each month and use that money, along with the money contributed by other program participants, to purchase RNG attributes.


How much may I contribute to the Program?

Residential and Small Commercial Customers may elect to fund RNG attribute purchases equivalent to a 10%, 25%, 50% or 100% offset of a typical customer’s natural gas usage. Large Commercial and Transportation customers should contact our customer service team for more information about their participation levels.


How much does it cost to participate in the Program?

We are proposing to the Maine Public Utilities Commission that our Voluntary Renewable Natural Gas Attribute Programbe offered at a flat monthly charge, based on the match percentage the participant chooses. The monthly charge will be added to each participant’s bill and based on a price of $10 per mmbtu times the amount of usage the participant elects to offset. The monthly charge for each of the offset percentages available to Residential and Small Commercial Customers are shown:

Residential Customers

Offset Percentage 10% 25% 50% 100%
Monthly Charge $7.44 $18.60 $37.20 $74.40
Monthly Usage Offset (MMBtu) 0.744 1.860 3.720 7.440

Small Commercial Customers

Offset Percentage 10% 25% 50% 100%
Monthly Charge $31.79 $79.47 $158.95 $317.90
Monthly Usage Offset (MMBtu) 3.179 7.947 15.895 31.790

Once enrolled in the Program, can I change my offset percentage?

Yes. Customers enrolled in the Voluntary Renewable Natural Gas Attribute Programcan call our customer service team at any time to cancel their participation in the program or change their offset percentage.


Will my bill increase even if I don't participate in the Program?

No. Customers who do not participate in the Voluntary Renewable Natural Gas Attribute Programwill not pay more for their natural gas because they are not participating.


Is Summit required to offer the Program?

Summit is not required to offer an RNG attribute program. We are choosing to offer the program because of our strong commitment to sustainability and belief that many of our customers will appreciate having the option to support RNG production through their participation in the program.