Southern California Gas Co (SoCalGas) has created a proposed plan to offer renewable natural gas (RNG) to its customers.
The proposal, which was agreed on with SoCalGas’ stakeholders, has been filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Consumer advocate groups, a national environmental organisation and various industry groups were involved in the proposal.
The proposed programme would give millions of Californians the option to purchase a portion of their natural gas from renewable sources, just as people can opt to purchase renewable electricity. SoCalGas believes the programme will increase demand for RNG, which can help to boost supply and lower costs in the long-term, as has happened with wind and solar power.
If approved, the RNG programme will be available to residential and small commercial and industrial customers. “Replacing traditional natural gas with the renewable kind is a great way to reduce climate change emissions,” said Andy Carrasco, SoCalGas’ chief environmental officer. “People like using natural gas for cooking, hot water and home heating, so using renewable gas allows them to keep their preferred energy source while helping achieve climate goals.”
The CPUC is now beginning its review evaluation process on the proposal. A decision could be made this autumn. According to SoCalGas, the production and use of RNG in California has soared since the introduction of a 2016 law requiring the reduction of methane emissions from dairy farms and the diversion of food and green waste from landfills. Over 30 dairy RNG projects are now in operation in the state, with more than 50 in development.
A recent IFS study found that in 20 years, enough RNG will be available to replace around 90% of the nation’s current residential natural gas consumption.