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SoCalGas announces support for biomethane incentive reservation system

Published by , Assistant Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has announced support for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) new Incentive Reservation System for the CPUC biomethane monetary incentive programme in California, US. The reservation system will help increase transparency about available incentive funding for biomethane interconnection projects in the state. Currently, there is about US$32 million in funding available through the incentive program. This money is available for eligible projects on a 'first come, first served' basis through 31 December 2026 or until the money runs out, whichever occurs first.

The new reservation system is an important step to give biomethane developers certainty that the money they applied for will be there at the end of the project. Another benefit of the reservation system is that it can help spur additional interconnection projects.

Renewable natural gas (RNG) is a clean fuel produced from waste streams (i.e. sewers and food waste, as well as dairy and agricultural waste) and can be used to heat homes and businesses, for cooking, and to fuel trucks and buses. California law requires 40% of methane from sewage treatments plants, landfills, dairies and other agriculture to be captured, with provisions for energy delivery to customers as part of the state's ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

RNG can take more carbon out of the air than it emits as an energy source, which makes it a carbon negative fuel. Last month, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory issued a report assessing pathways California can take to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. The study found the pathway that holds the greatest potential for removing emissions from the atmosphere is to convert waste to fuel, with simultaneous capture of CO2 emissions. Estimates show this pathway could remove 83 million tpy of CO2.

In 2019, SoCalGas announced its vision to be the cleanest gas utility in North America. As part of that vision, the utility committed to replacing 5% of its natural gas supplies with RNG by 2022 and 20% of its supplies with RNG by 2030. A 2018 study shows replacing about 20% of California's natural gas supply with RNG offers the same emissions reduction as electrifying all of the buildings in the state, but at half the cost.

There is widespread consumer preference for natural gas appliances in California and multiple studies have shown RNG is a cost-effective solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, a recently released analysis shows that by 2040, there will be enough RNG available nationwide to replace 90% of fossil natural gas in US homes.

The reservation system opened on 3 February 2020. Customers who wish to apply for incentive funding should fill out this form.

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