SoCal Gas Seeks to Offer Renewable Natural Gas - NBC Southern California

SoCal Gas Seeks to Offer Renewable Natural Gas

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    AFP/Getty Images
    A security guard gestures the way in for Porter Ranch residents arriving at the SoCal Gas Community Resource Center in Porter Ranch, California on January 8, 2016, where residents have been going to lodge complaints and seek an alternative housing situation from their homes near where natural gas leaking from a well has sickened and displaced thousands of residents. More than 1,600 odor complaints have been lodged by residents with the air district since October 23, 2015 when the leak began. Repeated efforts to stop the leak by pumping liquid and mud down the well have failed and the gas company is now drilling a relief well to intercept and plug the damaged well.AFP PHOTO/FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

    Southern California Gas Co. Thursday announced it has filed a request with the California Public Utilities Commission seeking to offer renewable natural gas to its 21 million customers in central and Southern California.

    Renewable natural gas is a fuel produced from waste and agriculture that can be used to heat homes and businesses, for cooking, and to fuel trucks and buses. The fuel assists in helping California reduce its greenhouse gas emissions because it is carbon-neutral or carbon-negative, meaning that it can take more GHG emissions out of the air than it emits as an energy source, according to the utility.

    Under the proposed program, millions of Californians would have the option to purchase a portion of their natural gas from renewable sources, just as many currently can opt to purchase renewable electricity, SoCalGas officials said.

    The program is expected to create increased demand for renewable natural gas, which should help increase supply and lower its cost over time, similar to what has happened with renewable electricity created from wind and solar power, according to the utility.

    "Renewable natural gas is an important component in California's efforts to reduce GHG emissions," said Sharon Tomkins, SoCalGas vice president of customer solutions and strategy. "Using renewable natural gas in homes and commercial buildings will cut greenhouse gas emissions just as much as mandating all-electric appliances, but 2 to 3 times more cost-effectively. This solution not only preserves consumer choice, it can achieve climate goals at a lower cost."

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