SoCalGas secures CPUC approval for new biomethane projects in California


Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) has secured approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to move to the next phase in the construction of four new dairy biomethane projects in the state.

The latest approval is a follow-up of the recent CPUC approval to SoCalGas and its partners for the construction of infrastructure to connect each of the biomethane facilities to the utility’s pipeline system.

With the latest approval, SoCalGas and the developers of the biomethane facilities will now move into the next phase of construction, including design and engineering.

When completed, the four facilities will be able to collect biogas generated from the anaerobic digesters at 35 dairies, which will be cleaned first and then pumped into SoCalGas pipeline system.

Expected to be completed by December 2020, the four facilities will have the combined capability to produce enough renewable natural gas (RNG) to fuel up to 40,000 homes each year.

The biomethane facilities will be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly by harnessing methane emission from dairy digesters and converting them into RNG, to heat homes and businesses, cooking and for fuelling trucks and buses.

SoCalGas strategy and engagement vice president Sharon Tomkins said: “In the last year we began injecting RNG into the SoCalGas system through a project at an anaerobic digester in Perris and a dairy digester pipeline cluster in Pixley.

“We look forward to bringing these four dairy biomethane projects online as we all work to help achieve California’s ambitious environmental goals.”

Currently, there are around 37 dairy methane capture projects either in operation or in development and it is estimated that as many as 120 projects could be funded and operating within the next five years.

Additionally, the state is planning to divert organic waste from landfills and capture emissions from wastewater treatment plants, to locally produce RNG.

The four projects are part of the six pilot projects in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys selected by the CPUC, the Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Department of Food and Agriculture in December 2018.

According to the state law, 40% of methane from the state’s dairies and other waste sectors is to be captured with provisions to deliver that energy to customers. This will strengthen the supply of RNG, which is claimed to be growing, thanks to the cities and towns in the country that are looking to divert organic waste from landfills.

The University of California estimates that the state’s existing organic waste could produce enough RNG to be supplied to 2.3 million homes.


Image: SoCalGas secures CPUC approval for new biomethane projects in California. Photo: Courtesy of georgiusevenson from Pixabay.

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