Shiane Daima Jacocks
On May 17, Southern California Gas Corporation (SoCalGas) established a new Center for Renewable Natural Gas at the University of California, Riverside.
SoCalGas, headquartered in Los Angeles, is the largest natural gas distribution entity in the United States. According to the agency, it provides clean, safe, affordable, and reliable natural gas service to 21.7 million customers in Central and Southern California.
“Renewable gas can play a key role in reducing greenhouse gases and meeting California’s renewable energy goals,” said Lisa Alexander, Vice President of Customer Solutions and Communications for SoCalGas. “In California, the agriculture and waste industries produce a great deal of methane that could—and should—be used as renewable gas to heat homes and fuel power plants and near-zero-emissions trucks.”
SoCalGas believes that, like electricity, natural gas can be made from renewable sources. The Center will focus on improving technology and removing barriers to increase renewable gas use in California, among other goals. Research will be conducted on renewable natural gas production, storing that energy, and increasing its use in heavy-duty transportation. It will also focus on market and policy issues, as well as identify sites for additional projects.
SoCalGas has served communities in California for 150 years. According to company officials, it is committed to spending six billion dollars over the next five years to modernize and upgrade its gas infrastructure, while also reducing methane emissions.
Arun Raju, Director of the Center for Renewable Natural Gas, said that renewable natural gas is an important alternative fuel that can, “help utilize local renewable resources and eliminate waste disposal problems.”
Renewable gas is produced from decomposing organic waste from dairies, agriculture, landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and other sources. This methane can be harnessed to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create renewable energy.
California has the potential to produce enough renewable gas each year to replace 75 percent of the smog-producing diesel fuel used by vehicles in our state. Like natural gas, renewable gas can be stored and delivered through existing infrastructure.