March 22, 2018

Governor Inslee Signs Bill to Promote Renewable Natural Gas in State of Washington

OLYMPIA, WA – Today, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a bill designed to result in the increased development and use of renewable natural gas in Washington.

“This bill will help in our fight against climate change by reducing highly-polluting methane emissions and displacing fossil fuels with low-carbon, renewable sources of biogas,” said Gov. Inslee. “As we transition to a clean-energy future, this will help us promote production of renewable natural gas from landfills, wastewater treatment plants, food processing, and agriculture, while also helping create jobs and promote rural economic development across our state.”

Renewable natural gas (RNG, biomethane or upgraded biogas) is produced from biogas, which is emitted during the natural decomposition of organic materials in renewable waste streams. RNG is a domestic, sustainable product that is increasingly being used to substitute for geologic natural gas to produce renewable electricity, heat and ultra-low carbon transportation fuel.

“By supporting renewable natural gas project development, Washington’s leaders are supporting the creation of clean energy sector jobs, improved air quality and public health,” said Johannes Escudero, CEO of the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition). “Methane mitigation, carbon sequestration and decarbonization of our existing natural gas infrastructure occur with each new RNG project.”

The RNG Coalition and supportive stakeholders were able to overcome challenges and garner approval for the bill in the final days of a shortened 2018 executive session. Proponents of the bill also include the Northwest Gas Association and regional renewable energy companies Promus Energy and Regenis.

“Governor Inslee and Department of Commerce were pleased to request this bill, which received near unanimous, bipartisan support from the Legislature,” said Peter Moulton, Energy Policy Section Manager, Washington Department of Commerce. “We look forward to working with interested stakeholders to advance RNG production and use, especially by public facilities and fleets.”

To spur development of RNG in Washington, the bill will:

  • Require the Washington State University Extension Energy Program and the Department of Commerce, in consultation with the Utilities and Transportation Commission, to submit recommendations on how to promote the sustainable development of RNG to the Governor and the energy committees of the Legislature by September 1, 2018;
  • Require the Department of Commerce, in consultation with natural gas utilities and other state agencies, to explore the development of voluntary gas quality standards for the injection of RNG into the state’s natural gas pipeline system; and
  • Reinstate and expand incentives in order to stimulate investment in biogas capture and conditioning, compression, nutrient recovery, and use of RNG for heating, electricity generation and transportation fuel. 

“The region’s natural gas utilities have received renewable natural gas onto their systems for years,” said Dan Kirschner, Executive Director of Northwest Gas Association. “This measure promises to stimulate more RNG production in Washington State, allowing natural gas consumers there to make productive use of a resource that would otherwise be discarded.”

Washington is currently home to two of the nation’s approximately 70 operational renewable natural gas facilities. RNG is produced from organic municipal solid waste in the Cedar Hills Landfill, and from wastewater at the King County South Treatment Plant. One additional RNG project is under construction at the Roosevelt Landfill, and two more projects are likely to begin construction in the coming year: one in Tacoma, and one in the Yakima Valley. 

About the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas

The 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 – a domestic, clean, low-carbon, and renewable source of power, heat and fuel that makes up the predominant share of cellulosic biofuel in North America.

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Marcus Gillette, Director of Public Affairs

916.588.3033 Ext. 3