Energy Leaders Outline Role of Renewable Natural Gas in Helping California Meet Renewable Energy and Clean Air Goals at "Power of Waste" Conference

Third annual conference, sponsored by SoCalGas, PG&E and Energy Vision, forecasts growth of biogas development in state

Oct 2, 2018

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- California's energy and biogas industry leaders met today at the "Power of Waste" conference to share their expertise in renewable natural gas and its importance in helping the state meet its renewable energy, greenhouse gas reduction, and clean air goals.  In addition to the state's new law requiring all renewable and zero-carbon resources for electric generation by 2045, another law, Senate Bill (SB) 1440, requires the state's Public Utilities Commission and Air Resources Board to consider adopting biomethane procurement targets for gas companies in the state.  The conference, hosted jointly by Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), and the national nonprofit organization Energy Vision, provided a timely look into successful biomethane development and its growth potential in California.  The event was held at SoCalGas' Energy Resource Center in Downey, California.

Renewable natural gas (RNG) can be produced from waste at landfills, wastewater treatment plants, food processing and dairies.  The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery ("CalRecycle") estimates 50 to 100 new or expanded anaerobic digestion and composting facilities will be developed in California to meet the 75% organics diversion goal by 2025 required by state law (SB 1383).

Renewable natural gas is a cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to a recent study by Navigant, Consulting, Inc., replacing approximately 16 percent of the traditional natural gas supply with renewable gas can achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions equivalent to converting 100 percent of buildings to electric-only energy by 2030.  By using a mix of both in- and out-of-state resources, a renewable natural gas strategy is about three times more cost effective in reducing GHGs than an electrification pathway.  In addition, renewable natural gas is available day and night to complement other renewable energy sources like solar and wind, making the entire energy system cleaner and more reliable.

"Renewable natural gas can cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, short-lived climate pollutants and criteria pollutants to help meet California's climate and clean air goals," said Yuri Freedman, senior director of business development for SoCalGas.  "And the latest state legislation means this renewable fuel is primed for further development."

"Adding the various benefits of renewable natural gas together, you get something unique: the clean burning and lowest-carbon fuel available today," said Joanna Underwood, founder and board member of Energy Vision. "The California Air Resources Board and Argonne National Labs have both verified RNG can be net-carbon negative over its lifecycle, with more greenhouse gases being captured to make the fuel than are emitted by burning it. So making and using RNG doesn't just slow the accumulation of atmospheric GHG; it can actually help roll it back. As a transportation fuel, it can cut health-damaging particulate, NOx and SOx emissions to close to zero. California is the major market for RNG in the US, but it has yet to make much of it in-state. RNG represents a tremendous opportunity for California to turn its waste into energy, meet its climate goals and improve its air quality."

"Interconnecting biomethane producers to our extensive pipeline network requires new, creative and innovative approaches," said Steve Moorleghen, wholesale marketing and business development, PG&E. "We are proud to partner with dairies and other energy companies to explore how we can bring more biomethane on-system and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Creating more renewable energy for California
As California policymakers have sought to expand the production and use of renewable energy, SoCalGas has been working to expand the production and use of renewable natural gas in the state.  The utility announced last month it will soon begin using renewable natural gas for the first time at the 25 utility-owned natural gas vehicle fueling stations across its service territory. In July, it launched a video on renewable natural gas, and worked with waste management company CR&R Environmental to begin injecting renewable natural gas produced at CR&R's anaerobic digestion facility in Perris, Calif., into SoCalGas pipelines. In June, SoCalGas joined two French utilities and a Canadian natural gas utility in a new collaboration to advance the research and development of renewable natural gas and technologies such as power-to-gas.  SoCalGas also assists California fleets in obtaining state funds designated for the purchase of near-zero emissions heavy-duty natural gas trucks.

SoCalGas has supported the implementation of California Senate Bill (SB) 1383, considered the most aggressive law in the nation designed to tackle short-lived climate pollutants.  Last year, SoCalGas worked with other natural gas utilities in the state to solicit the dairy biomethane pilot projects required by the legislation.

In addition, SoCalGas has created a downloadable toolkit to assist renewable gas producers and developers who are interested in interconnecting their projects with the SoCalGas pipeline network.  The utility also created new provisions in 2017 to enable SoCalGas and renewable gas producers to accelerate the process of interconnecting to SoCalGas pipelines.

Renewable natural gas from other states has already begun to clean the air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California's transportation sector, which accounts for more than 80 percent of smog forming emissions and about 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the state.  The latest generation of natural gas engines for heavy-duty vehicles can reduce smog-forming emissions by more than 90 percent. When fueled with renewable natural gas, these trucks reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent or more.  Already, about 70 percent of natural gas trucks in California are fueled by renewable gas delivered by SoCalGas pipelines.

For more information on renewable natural gas, go to: socalgas.com/smart-energy.

About SoCalGas
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States. SoCalGas delivers affordable, reliable, clean and increasingly renewable natural gas service to 21.8 million customers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California, where more than 90 percent of residents use natural gas for heating, hot water, cooking, drying clothes or other uses. Natural gas delivered through the company's pipelines also plays a key role in providing electricity to Californians—about 60 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.  

SoCalGas is committed to investing in its natural gas system infrastructure, while keeping bills affordable for our customers. From 2013 through 2017, the company spent nearly $6 billion to upgrade and modernize its natural gas system to enhance safety and reliability. The company is also committed to being a leader in the region's clean energy future, and is working to accelerate the use of renewable natural gas from dairy farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants and the development of renewable energy storage technologies. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), an energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information on renewable natural gas, go to: socalgas.com/smart-energy. For more information visit socalgas.com/newsroom or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook.  

About Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation, is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California.

PG&E has proudly served northern California communities, families and businesses since 1905 and is committed to become the safest, most reliable, affordable and clean energy company in the country. PG&E is making strategic investments in new technologies and processes, including biomethane and low-carbon gas alternatives, that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Since 1998, the company has reduced its SF6 emissions rate by more than 85 percent and total emissions by more than 70 percent. 

About Energy Vision 
Energy Vision is a non-profit organization which researches, analyzes and promotes currently viable technologies and strategies for accomplishing the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon energy and transportation future. Learn more at www.energy-vision.org

 

About Southern California Gas Co.: Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 145 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 21.6 million consumers connected through 5.9 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.

 

SOURCE Southern California Gas Company

For further information: Melissa Bailey, Office of Media and Public, Information, (213) 453-6537, mbailey@semprautilities.com


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