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SoCalGas announces new renewable gas pipeline initiatives

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World Pipelines,

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) 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% 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% of the fuel used in natural gas vehicles in California is renewable, and SoCalGas expects that to increase to 90% 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% of smog-forming pollution and that disproportionally burdens our most vulnerable communities. With today's technology, we can harness this otherwise wasted energy to decarbonise 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, CEO 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 realising the total economic and environmental benefits associated with increased RNG development, pipeline interconnection, deployment and utilisation 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 decarbonise 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.

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