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EverGen undergoes CEO transition to aid near-term goals

Previous CEO Chase Edgelow to serve as strategic advisor

EverGen's Fraser Valley biogas facility. (Courtesy EverGen Infrastructure Corp.)
EverGen's Fraser Valley biogas facility. (Courtesy EverGen Infrastructure Corp.)

EverGen Infrastructure Corp. has recently appointed Ford Nicholson as interim executive chair and Mischa Zajtmann as interim CEO and director to prioritize near-term milestones for its biogas projects.

Co-founder Chase Edgelow, who led the company since its inception, stepped down immediately, but will remain at EverGen as a strategic advisor.

“I think the transition was based on a mutual parting of ways. We wanted to ensure continuity, having Chase stay on as a strategic advisor is really important in terms of allowing us to have that smooth transition,” Zajtmann told Sustainable Biz Canada.

Vancouver-based EverGen (EVGN-X) is an independent renewable energy producer which acquires, develops, builds, owns and operates a portfolio of renewable natural gas (RNG), waste-to-energy and related infrastructure projects.

It owns and operates four facilities through its subsidiaries Pacific Coast Renewables Corp., Sea to Sky Soils and Composting Inc., Fraser Valley Biogas Ltd., and Grow the Energy Circle Ltd. (GrowTEC), in which it has 67 per cent ownership. EverGen is collectively capable of producing approximately 1.7 million gigajoules of RNG per year.

“From our perspective, this was about a reprioritization towards near-term EBITDA delivery, ensuring that our near-term milestones are achieved. When we promise that we're going to bring our Fraser Valley biogas project to first gas by a certain date, that we deliver on those promises,” Zajtmann said.

Promotions capitalize on 'invaluable' experience

EverGen also promoted previous vice-president of operations Jamie Betts to chief operating officer.

“He's a seasoned operator (with) over 35 years of experience in the energy and waste management business. He's really brought a lot of structure, a lot of discipline, to how we operate, and how we develop projects,” Zajtmann said.

“His experience has been invaluable in terms of getting us to this point and beyond and with this transition, it was a perfect opportunity to elevate him.”

Before co-founding EverGen, Nicholson was the deputy chairman of InterOil Corporation, which developed liquified natural gas for Asian markets. It was listed on the NYSE before its sale to ExxonMobil. He also co-founded and served on the boards of other energy companies.

“It's a really exciting time for us in that we're on the cusp of bringing a transformational project online and proving out the model and that we're actually able to deliver multiple RNG projects on this platform,” Zajtmann said.

“We plan to continue to further develop our platform at a similar pace.”

EverGen looking ahead

The Fraser Valley biogas expansion – which is expected to double its production to approximately 160,000 gigajoules of RNG annually – was originally planned for September as discussed in the company’s Q2 results.

“All of our resources are allocated towards ensuring that project comes online in Q4 and then is fully commissioned as soon as possible thereafter,” Zajtmann said.

There were a number of other planned expansions discussed in the company’s Q2 call. Zajtmann referred to GrowTEC – planned to increase to 140,000 gigajoules annually – as another near-term expansion, although he did not get into specifics.

An application has been submitted for Sea to Sky to expand capacity from 40,000 gigajoules to 60,000 gigajoules.

EverGen also holds a 50 per cent interest in Project Radius, which is a late-development-stage portfolio of three on-farm RNG projects in Ontario. It was previously set to begin construction in 2024, although Zajtmann said to expect updates on the project later this year.

“We can allocate those resources towards GrowTEC such that all of the learnings that we've encountered from the Fraser Valley biogas expansion, we’ll be able to apply to the GrowTEC expansion as well,” he said.

At the end of September, the company announced a 10-year partnership with the City of Regina to process all the organic waste collected via its food and yard waste program. It is expected to process up to 24,000 tonnes annually.

Zajtmann reiterated the company’s Q2 statement that it is pursuing between eight and 10 projects at any given time.

“I think we bifurcate our growth pipeline into near-term EBITDA accretive opportunities,” Zajtmann said, “versus long-term development greenfield opportunities.”

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