April 17, 2018

California Bill to Set Goals for Pipeline Decarbonization Passes Key Committee

SB 1440 Would Create Needed Market Certainty by Establishing a Renewable Natural Gas Procurement Program for Gas Corporations

SACRAMENTO, CA – A proposed bill sponsored by the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition) that would reduce California’s dependence on fossil natural gas was advanced by the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications today. 

SB 1440, introduced by Senator Ben Hueso, would create additional market certainty for projects that use the state’s food waste, agricultural waste, landfill gas and wastewater resources to create a replacement for natural gas, known as renewable natural gas. The bill would do so by establishing a renewable natural gas procurement program for California’s natural gas utilities. 

“Over the past couple of years, we have passed groundbreaking legislation to address climate change and reduce the emissions of dangerous greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants,” said Senator Hueso. “Today, we further advanced the state’s methane emissions’ reduction goal, while displacing fossil fuels in the pipeline.”

According to the analysis for today’s hearing, the Committee received at least 42 letters of support for moving the bill forward from a wide range of proponents, from clean fuel companies to renewable energy organizations.

“SB 1440 will allow the development and financing of a significant number of biomethane projects needed by California to both dispose of and convert organic waste streams that are now required by law to be diverted from sanitary landfills,” said Evan Williams, President of California-based developer Cambrian Energy.

The bill would require the CPUC to set goals for California’s gas corporations – including Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Gas Company, and Southwest Gas – to procure 32 billion cubic feet of pipeline-quality biomethane by 2030 through long-term off-take agreements. 

“This is an important next step towards realizing increased development, deployment and utilization of RNG in California,” said Johannes Escudero, CEO of the RNG Coalition. "This bill will create market certainty that industry companies need in order to access the investment capital required to build RNG production facilities in and for California.”

The provisions of the bill seek to smooth the path of implementation for the California Air Resources Board’s requirement under SB 32 (Pavley, 2016) to ensure that statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are reduced to at least 40-percent below the statewide GHG limit by 2030. Methane is the second most abundant anthropogenic GHG after carbon dioxide, and is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

“The Climate Trust launched a new carbon fund currently investing in the construction of livestock digesters, financing projects based on their ability to generate and sell carbon credits,” said Peter Weisberg, Senior Portfolio Manager for The Climate Trust. “SB 1440 would build on the California Energy Commission’s recommendation to create commercial markets for renewable gas, spurring significant development of in-state potential and increased utilization of renewable natural gas.”


The Sacramento-based RNG Coalition was founded in 2011 and represents the renewable natural gas industry in North America, including companies that produce or otherwise support production and distribution of biogas-derived renewable natural gas (RNG, biomethane or upgraded biogas) – a domestic, clean source of renewable power, heat and ultra-low carbon transportation fuel that makes up the predominant share of cellulosic biofuel produced in North America. For more information, please see RNGCoalition.com.

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