LOS ANGELES, June 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced it will continue its grant program that helps California cities become more resilient in the face of climate change risks such as flooding, wildfires, extreme heat, drought, sea level rise, and other extreme weather events. The competitive grant program provides $50,000 to each of two municipalities in the utility's service territory and is designed to help cities and counties reduce the impact of climate change-related threats, which are expected to increase over the next decade. An advisory panel of planning and sustainability experts from Climate Resolve and the American Planning Association-California Chapter (APA-California) will select the winning applications from across Southern and Central California.
"Having a diverse energy supply that includes natural gas gives cities the ability to recover more quickly from disasters, increasing their resiliency," said George Minter, regional vice president of external affairs and environmental strategy for SoCalGas. "And when natural gas is derived from renewable sources like wastewater, landfills, or dairy farms, it reduces greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change."
"Climate change demands proactive and immediate responses across all planning sectors, including land use, transportation, natural resource management, public health and economic development," said Ashley Atkinson, director of the American Planning Association's Los Angeles section. "This kind of investment in planning is critical to creating stronger communities."
"Climate change is upon us. The impacts of climate pollution are already being felt in Southern California in the form of prolonged and more severe droughts, larger and more intense wildfires, more intense precipitation events, hotter heat waves … the list goes on," said Bryn Lindblad, Climate Resolve's deputy director. "Cities and counties must take stock of this 'new normal' and plan for ways that they can improve their climate resilience."
Grant proposals will be assessed according to the following criteria:
Collaboration: The extent to which the proposal reflects coordination and partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders such as energy and water utilities, transportation, housing agencies, etc.
Disadvantaged Communities: SoCalGas encourages applicants to address vulnerabilities in disadvantaged communities.
Co-Benefits: The extent to which the proposal identifies potential added benefits of the adaptation work, such as benefits to public health, air quality, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and the economy.
The annual grants will be funded by shareholders and will not impact natural gas bills. The deadline to submit proposals is September 20, 2019.
Last year, the City of Redlands and the City of Artesia were awarded the two SoCalGas adaptation and resiliency grants. Both cities used the funds to update their hazard mitigation plans, which help cities plan and prepare for natural disasters and extreme weather events. Because of the grants, Redlands and Artesia became eligible for Federal hazard mitigation awards that require matching funds from local sources.
SoCalGas is a leader in developing and investing in technologies that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to offer renewable natural gas to its 21 million customers in Central and Southern California. The program is part of SoCalGas' overall vision to be the cleanest natural gas utility in North America. As part of this plan, the utility committed to displacing 20 percent of its traditional natural gas supply with RNG by 2030 and replacing five percent of the traditional gas supply with RNG by 2022.
Research shows that replacing about 20 percent of California's traditional natural gas supply with RNG would lower emissions equal to retrofitting every building in the state to run on electric only energy and at a fraction of the cost. Using RNG in buildings can be two to three times less expensive than any all-electric strategy and does not require families or businesses to purchase new appliances or take on costly construction projects.
For more information about SoCalGas' environmental initiatives, go to socalgas.com/smart-energy.
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 45 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.
SoCalGas' vision is to be the cleanest natural gas utility in North America, delivering affordable and increasingly renewable energy to its customers. In support of that vision, SoCalGas is committed to replacing 20 percent of its traditional natural gas supply with renewable natural gas (RNG) by 2030. Renewable natural gas is made from waste created by dairy farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. SoCalGas is also committed to investing in its natural gas system infrastructure while keeping bills affordable for our customers. From 2014 through 2018, the company invested nearly $6.5 billion to upgrade and modernize its natural gas system to enhance safety and reliability. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), an energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit socalgas.com/newsroom or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook.
SOURCE Southern California Gas Company