LOS ANGELES, Aug. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced new initiatives that will make it easier for renewable gas production facilities to connect to the company's natural gas pipeline system. First is the creation of a downloadable toolkit to assist renewable gas producers and developers who are interested in interconnecting their projects with the SoCalGas pipeline network. In addition, new provisions will enable SoCalGas and renewable gas producers to accelerate the interconnection process by procuring the necessary material much earlier than previously allowed.
Like electricity, natural gas can be made from renewable sources. About 80 percent of all methane emissions in California come from the state's dairy and farm operations, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. That methane can be harnessed and cleaned to produce renewable natural gas for use in transportation as well as in homes and businesses.
A study conducted by the University of California at Davis estimates that the natural gas needs of around 2.4 million California homes could be fueled with RNG derived from the state's existing organic waste alone. Already, 60 percent of the fuel used in natural gas vehicles in California is renewable, and SoCalGas expects that to increase to 90 percent by 2018. This can help reduce the need for other fossil-based fuels, and increase our supplies with a local renewable fuel.
"Renewable natural gas is key to achieving the state's ambitious air quality goals and providing families in California with a clean and reliable source of energy to heat and power their homes for generations to come," said Lisa Alexander, vice president of customer solutions for SoCalGas. "Renewable natural gas will also help transform transportation in the state, which accounts for 80 percent of smog-forming pollution and that disproportionally burdens our most vulnerable communities. With today's technology, we can harness this otherwise wasted energy to de-carbonize our pipeline system, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and slow climate change."
"Since 1988 all but two renewable natural gas projects have been developed outside of California—which explains why the state imports most of the renewable natural gas (RNG) it consumes," said Johannes Escudero, chief executive officer and executive director of the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas. "That is changing—and we appreciate SoCalGas' leadership and ongoing commitment to the RNG Coalition and industry as it relates to addressing the minimum heating value requirement that would prevent California from fully realizing the total economic and environmental benefits associated with increased RNG development, pipeline interconnection, deployment and utilization in-State."
"SoCalGas is leading the way to a decarbonized gas supply in California, which will help the state reduce the most damaging climate and air pollutants," said Julia Levin, executive director of the Bioenergy Association of California. "In addition to protecting communities from pollution and wildfires, increasing in-state biogas production will create good jobs throughout California. These efforts are a win-win for the environment and the economy."
SoCalGas is also working to accelerate the use of renewable natural gas, by capturing methane emissions to decarbonize its pipelines. SoCalGas aims to build and operate more renewable natural gas interconnection facilities throughout California to bring more clean, renewable natural gas to its customers. This summer the company will complete its first renewable natural gas interconnection project in Perris, California. When the project is completed, renewable natural gas produced by a waste management company will power a fleet of more than 320 waste hauling trucks.
SoCalGas recently launched a new Renewable Gas website to provide general information on biogas derived renewable natural gas. A key feature of this site is a downloadable toolkit to assist biogas producers and developers who are interested in putting renewable natural gas into the SoCalGas pipeline network. In addition, the new website also explains the monetary incentive program for utility interconnection projects. In the future, SoCalGas plans to include information on other types of renewable gases and technologies to the website, such as renewable hydrogen and power-to-gas.
SoCalGas reviewed its current system and identified several areas that would smooth the path to interconnection for renewable natural gas developers.
One enhancement, approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on April 8, enables SoCalGas and potential interconnectors to speed the process by procuring the necessary materials much earlier than previously allowed. Previously, procurement of these materials could only be done when the interconnection studies were concluded and a construction agreement was executed.
About Southern California Gas Co. Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States, providing clean, safe, affordable and reliable natural gas service to 21.7 million customers in Central and Southern California. Its service territory spans 22,000 square miles from Fresno to the Mexican border, reaching more than 550 communities through 5.9 million meters and 101,000 miles of pipeline. More than 90 percent of Southern California single-family home residents use natural gas for home heat and hot water. In addition, natural gas 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 has served communities in Californiafor 150 years and is committed to being a leader in the region's clean energy future. The company has committed to spending $6 billion over the next five years to modernize and upgrade its gas infrastructure, while also reducing methane emissions. SoCalGas is working to accelerate the use of renewable natural gas, a carbon-neutral or carbon-negative fuel created by capturing and conditioning greenhouse gas emissions from farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. The company is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 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.