Southern California Gas Co said it soon will begin using renewable natural gas for the first time at the 25 utility-owned natural gas vehicle fueling stations across its service territory, as well as at six fueling stations in the San Diego area.
Last month, the utility received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for a pilot program to purchase the renewable fuel and capture the additional environmental credits generated. It recently published a Request for Offer (RFO), and expects to complete gas purchase agreements in the near future.
“Using renewable natural gas at our natural gas fueling stations will help clean the air for Southern California communities and support the state's clean energy future,” said Sharon Tomkins, SoCalGas’ vice president of customer solutions and strategy. “SoCalGas will continue to work to increase the use and production of renewable natural gas, meeting consumer preferences and helping to achieve state’s climate and air quality goals while efficiently using existing infrastructure.”
Renewable natural gas (RNG) is produced from the methane generated in landfills, wastewater treatment plants, food processing and dairies, and depending on its source, can be low-carbon or in some cases, even carbon-negative. It can be used to fuel trucks and buses, to generate electricity, to heat homes and businesses, and to cook.
Capturing the methane from these waste sources and using it for fuel has two benefits, SoCalGas said: It keeps methane, a greenhouse gas, from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change, and it reduces the use of traditionally-sourced natural gas.
Because renewable natural gas can be stored and delivered through the existing natural gas infrastructure, SoCalGas can help California reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the state's renewable energy and air quality goals in a cost-effective way. In addition, unlike solar and wind energy, renewable natural gas is available when needed—day or night.
“Using renewable natural gas to fuel near-zero emission heavy-duty trucks in Southern California will help solve our air quality problems while lowering climate impacts,” said Dr. Joseph Lyou, president and CEO of the Coalition for Clean Air and a member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board. “It’s good to see SoCalGas taking the lead on this renewable natural gas project.”