August 02, 2018

Study Advises Renewable Natural Gas Use for Low-Carbon Building Strategy

Southern California Gas Co.   (SoCalGas) joined businesses, affordable housing advocates, scholars, and local government leaders to announce the results of a new study, commissioned by Navigant Consulting, Inc., that advises policymakers to consider renewable natural gas for California’s low-carbon building strategy as a pathway for California to achieve its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. The analysis forecasts that replacing just 16 percent of the traditional natural gas supply with renewable natural gas (RNG) captured from sources like dairies, wastewater treatment plants, and landfills, can achieve GHG reductions equivalent to converting 100 percent of buildings to electric-only energy by 2030.

“SoCalGas customers prefer natural gas to heat their homes and to cook their food by a margin of 5 to 1 over electricity because it is the most affordable form of energy,” said Sharon Tomkins, SoCalGas vice president for customer solutions and strategy. “This study is a game changer – it shows that California can achieve meaningful greenhouse gas reductions without costly mandates that force people to upgrade their electrical panels and purchase new appliances and that could drive California deeper into an affordable housing crisis.”

By using a mix of both in- and out-of-state resources, the renewable natural gas strategy is three times more cost-effective in reducing GHGs than an electrification pathway. 

SoCalGas is committed to developing renewable natural gas and renewable storage technologies to help California meet its climate goals. This year, SoCalGas is supporting Senate Bill 1440, Hueso (D-San Diego), that would result in 5 percent of natural gas delivered to residential customers being replaced with renewable natural gas. This could achieve GHG reductions equivalent to 30-percent electrification of the building sector, without the burden of mandates that would require families to purchase new appliances or upgrade their homes.  

Today, 90 percent of homes in Southern California use natural gas for space and water heating or cooking. Natural gas emissions from residential buildings account for only about 5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions according to the California Air Resources Board, a number that can be further reduced by use of renewable natural gas. 

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