February 01, 2022

SoCalGas Names 2021 Climate Champions Initiative Grant Recipients


Utility awards $400,000 in funding to 10 nonprofits for projects related to clean, safe, and innovative solutions towards decarbonization


LOS ANGELES, Feb. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced the winners of its 2021 Climate Champions Initiative, which awards grants of up to $50,000 to nonprofits that encourage and foster clean, safe, and innovative solutions towards a clean energy future. In all, 10 nonprofits were selected to receive a total of $400,000 in funding.

The SoCal Climate Champions Grant aims to advance climate solutions in Southern California by providing funding to support the research and development of clean energy technology, reducing, mitigating, and sequestering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improving air quality, and through organic waste diversion solutions in the communities SoCalGas serves.

"SoCalGas is very proud of our annual Climate Champions initiative," said Jawaad Malik, chief environmental officer at SoCalGas. "Each of these organizations is doing its part to reduce GHG emissions and improve the quality of air in our region. We look forward to seeing our champions' projects grow and the impact they make in our communities."

One grant recipient, the Cal Poly Pomona Philanthropic Foundation, will use its funding for the research and development of low-cost energy storage using repurposed waste produced during desalination. During the desalination process, salt and other minerals are removed from a target substance such as wastewater. This project aims to repurpose the salt collected during desalination and use it as a low-cost energy storage medium. The desalination industry is facing environmental and economic challenges associated with disposal. At the same time, there is growing need for low-cost energy storage to pair with an increase in intermittent renewable energy generated from solar and wind.

"By repurposing concentrate as a low-cost thermal energy storage medium, we reduce the cost of energy storage below the Department of Energy's cost target," said Dr. Reza Baghaei Lakeh, associate professor of mechanical engineering, who will supervise the student project. "This grant will enable us to spread awareness about the urgent need for low-cost and durable energy storage systems for a future power grid that relies one-hundred percent on renewable energy. It will also help us to bring our patent-pending technology out of Cal Poly Pomona labs to the marketplace."

Another grant recipient, Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) offers job training and internships, life-time career support and culinary scholarships for 20,000 students in underserved communities. The organization will use its funding specifically for its Waste Not: The C-CAP Food Sustainability Series project. C-CAP is developing a video-based curricula focused on educating students on sustainability and food waste. This program will not only teach students the fundamentals of how to lead a waste-free lifestyle as citizens and chefs but encourage them to develop sustainability practices in their own communities and within their own families.

"C-CAP is excited to further our mission of promoting food and social justice through our Waste Not sustainability program, which will train 6,000 Southern California students to think about the practices of zero-waste in their recipes, households, communities, and the world at-large, said Kyla Marshell, development associate at C-CAP. "We're grateful to SoCalGas for making this program possible, which we hope will broaden students' educational and work opportunities, while encouraging them to think more expansively about how they can be planetary stewards." 

Other 2021 SoCal Climate Champions include:

  • Trust for Public Land: The Transverse Range Climate Conservation program will develop measurable, replicable and scalable strategies to implement nature-based solutions to climate change. This vital land conservation work will also strengthen local communities across Southern California by increasing resilience to wildfires and other climate threats.
  • Orange County Conservation Corps: Funding will support the construction of the Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Project that will capture, filter and infiltrate stormwater runoff through natural processes. This process will replenish groundwater, provide water supply, improve the health of receiving waters and lower the heat island effect, to enhance local air quality.
  • San Diego State University Research Foundation: The organization's Farms of the Future project will pave the way toward a deep understanding of the carbon footprint from the agriculture sector in the Imperial Valley.
  • The Ecology Center: The organization aims to inspire healthy change in our food system by educating the community with the principles and practices of ecological agriculture. Its 28-acre Regenerative Organic Certified™ farm is served by a large-scale composting operation that converts organic food waste into nutrient-rich soil. The organization plans to expand its compost operation with the goal of closing the loop on its main farm site and strengthening the growing number of satellite and school farms it serves.

Since its inception in 2015, the SoCal Climate Champions Initiative, which is funded by Sempra Energy shareholders, has awarded more than 150 grants totaling nearly $2.5 million. A complete list of the 2021 grant recipients can be found here.

Earlier this month, SoCalGas released its ASPIRE 2045 SoCalGas Sustainability Strategy, outlining goals and benchmarks around environmental health, social equity, and wellbeing in the communities SoCalGas serves. Under the ASPIRE 2045 Sustainability Strategy, the energy company will invest $50 million into communities the company serves over five years, work to advance racial and gender diversity in the workplace, and take tangible steps towards a carbon neutral future.

About SoCalGas  

Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest gas distribution utility in the United States. SoCalGas delivers affordable, reliable, and increasingly renewable gas service to 21.8 million consumers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California. Gas delivered through the company's pipelines will continue to play a key role in California's clean energy transition—providing electric grid reliability and supporting wind and solar energy deployment.

SoCalGas' mission is to build the cleanest, safest and most innovative energy company in America. In support of that mission, SoCalGas is committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in its operations and delivery of energy by 2045 and to replacing 20 percent of its traditional natural gas supply to core customers 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 gas delivery infrastructure while keeping bills affordable for customers.

SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra (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. 

SoCalGas Logo (PRNewsfoto/San Diego Gas & Electric,Southern California Gas Company)



SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.

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