Renewable Natural Gas (aka the breakdown of organic waste materials into biogas or biomethane) could be the way we fuel our homes and cars in the future and EverGen is laying down the groundwork to make Canada a leader in the clean energy source.
While the world begins to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel with vaccine rollouts and a steady return to life pre-pandemic—sorry, not you, Ontario—we remain in the middle of another ongoing global crisis: climate change.
The push for clean, renewable energy is not only a way to reduce the carbon emissions of classic fossil fuel-based energy, but it is also building out a market filled with innovation. And EverGen, a sustainable infrastructure builder, aims to change how Canada manages organic waste by converting it to clean energy via Renewable Natural Gas (RNG).
The British Columbia-based company’s latest $17M funding will go towards building out its RNG Infrastructure Platform and hopefully make the country a leader in renewable energy.
“We’re using proven technology to create a clean energy source for our future,” said EverGen co-founder and CEO, Chase Edgelow. “We have the leadership and capability to ‘infra-tize’ the country’s fragmented RNG industry, by applying a disciplined and practical approach to developing that direly needed infrastructure.”
Founded at the beginning of 2020, EverGen is quickly taking the right steps to make sure it creates a long-lasting impact on how Canadians source their energy. For this week’s Startup Spotlight, Bay Street Bull spoke with Co-Founder and CEO of EverGen, Chase Edgelow, about why RNG is the next big thing in clean energy and how EverGen is going to bring it to Canadians.
What is EverGen?
EverGen is a sustainable infrastructure builder, owner, and operator that is focused on solving two related problems: how to best manage organic waste and how to convert it into usable clean energy via Renewable Natural Gas.
How was the concept brought to life?
We brought together a leadership team that includes a COO with over 20 years of experience in developing more than 60 RNG projects globally; and a President whose specialties include negotiations, process discipline, and corporate securities law. As CEO, I bring to the table over 15 years of experience in private asset investment, project development, finance, and deal-making grounded in a technical engineering background. What we all share is a common goal: establishing EverGen as the leading RNG Infrastructure Platform.
What is Renewable Natural Gas?
Using a process called anaerobic digestion, organic waste materials—including municipal green-bin contents and food waste—are converted into biogas that can be used for heating and electricity generation. Further processing can convert that into biomethane, which can be used for fuel or supplied to consumers through a utility’s natural-gas infrastructure.
How does it differ from other renewable energy sources?
Growth in other renewable energy sources like wind and solar requires significant upgrades to the electrical grid. RNG, on the other hand, uses existing infrastructure, which minimizes the impact of the energy transition. It’s delivered using traditional natural-gas transmission systems connecting Canadian consumers to a reliable source of energy for transportation, cooking, and heating, and powering their homes.
How can RNG help Canada reduce carbon emissions?
Traditional wind and solar projects have a low carbon footprint, but RNG projects are often carbon-negative, meaning more emissions are removed than created. That’s because it comes from organic waste that would otherwise emit harmful greenhouse gases. These emissions are captured and processed into RNG, thus solving a growing waste problem while also creating a much-needed energy resource that contributes to the circular economy.
Why is a company like EverGen needed?
There is a significant gap in renewable infrastructure across Canada. EverGen aims to address that gap, specifically by focusing on the acquisition and build-out of RNG and sustainable waste-to-energy projects. We’re using proven technology to create a clean energy source for our future. We have the leadership and capability to “infra-tize” the country’s fragmented RNG industry, by applying a disciplined and practical approach to developing that direly needed infrastructure. This will ensure long-term sustainable returns, not just for our investors and stakeholders, but also for our communities.
What will EverGen be doing with the $17M funding it recently received?
This was our second round of funding following the completion of our $30M equity raise in December. The funds will be directed into acquiring a producing RNG project in British Columbia as well as building out our project pipeline. As with our existing projects, EverGen’s upcoming initiatives are focused on building, owning, and operating RNG infrastructure to support the clean energy goals and demand of utilities, starting in B.C. but with plans to grow into other regions in North America in the coming years.
Were there any hurdles or obstacles in getting the company to where it is now? If so, how did you overcome them?
Our goal is to have EverGen become the dominant RNG supplier in British Columbia by the beginning of 2023. I’m confident that we’ll get there, but laying the foundation for that success has been the initial challenge. Putting a great leadership team together was really the first step. That team consists of on-site project operators and directors, including passionate ecologists, composters, environmental innovators, and community leaders.
The next challenge was securing the means to bring EverGen’s vision to life. As you have already mentioned, we recently raised $8 million in equity capital and secured a senior debt facility of $9 million to pursue our strategy of acquiring and building RNG and sustainable waste-to-energy projects. That followed our previous acquisitions of Sea to Sky Soils in Pemberton and Net Zero Waste Abbotsford, which were completed last December. We’re well on our way.
With Earth Day coming up, can you think of ways—big or small—that other companies can work towards reducing their ecological footprint? Or even on a personal level?
Consider the climate on a global scale, but take action at the local level. That’s the best way to make any kind of a positive change. An example is what we’re doing at Sea to Sky Soils in Pemberton. While working towards a zero-waste goal, we’re supporting local food production through cradle-to-cradle composting and closing the recycling loop. Creating sustainable jobs for our First Nation partners and educating communities about the importance of composting and increasing our waste literacy helps at the local level. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change helps everyone on the planet. These are principles that should guide every business decision from the c-suite to the frontline workers.
What is the overall mission of EverGen?
Our mission is to ensure that Canada doesn’t lag behind the top nations fighting climate change through RNG solutions. We want this country to be seen as an innovator in sustainable, green energy production. We will achieve this goal by acquiring, developing, building, owning, and operating a portfolio of infrastructure projects, including renewable natural gas and waste-to-energy facilities.
Where would you like to see the company in five, 10 years?
Our nimble team is poised to take advantage of a unique opportunity where we leverage off of our existing experience to show true leadership in the RNG infrastructure sector. Similar dynamics in the wind, solar, and hydro spaces allowed strong Canadian independent power producers like Northland, Innergex, and Boralex to grow into multi-billion dollar companies providing much-needed renewable content to the electrical grid. We intend to do the same, providing much-needed renewable content to the Canadian gas grid.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Communities are at the heart of everything EverGen does. We are committed to maintaining meaningful community relationships and have prioritized working in collaboration with First Nations bands, whose land we share. We are proud to continue working to create good jobs and a greener environment in all of the communities in which we operate.