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Accelerating California’s Renewable Energy Economy

January 9, 2020

Source: ACT News

Since its inception in 2015, the Renewable Gas 360 symposium (formerly known as Rethink Methane) has raised awareness among California’s policymakers of the important role that renewable gases can and should play to strengthen and accelerate the Golden State’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions, enhance the diversity and resiliency of energy resources, and create cost effective options to build a long-term sustainable economy.

For 2020, organizers and sponsors elected to “rethink” the name of the event. The symposium has always included discussion of a broad spectrum of renewable gases, including renewable hydrogen, propane, syngas, and methane. The rationale is, and has always been, that molecules of gas can also come from renewable resources. Harnessing these resources generally requires converting waste into a valuable product. Capturing the social and economic value of waste is a fundamental axiom of sustainability, which is why the promotion of renewable gases should be a bedrock principle of California’s strategy to reduce its environmental footprint while simultaneously growing the state’s economy.

Renewable Gas 360 continues this focus, encouraging the state’s policymakers to expand their perspective and develop an active and aggressive set of policies and programs to rapidly accelerate California’s development of renewable gases and the businesses that they encourage. This approach is particularly crucial if the state wants to be successful in meeting the goal of reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) 40% by 2030. The vast majority of the state’s inventory of SLCPs are the result of poor or inadequate management of organic waste. This could be reduced well beyond the 2030 target with a concerted effort to prioritize the state’s GHG reduction funds on the most cost effective SLCP reduction projects. The production of renewable gases, and the value that they can generate for investors, can attract billions of dollars of private capital to projects that, in their essence, are created to meet the state’s ambitious environmental objectives.

The 2020 edition of Renewable Gas 360 will address these and other important issues to making renewable gases a reality. The event’s first panel, Rethinking the Role of the Gas Utility in California’s Renewable Energy Future, will discuss the gas utility’s future role in a carbon constrained world. As the state inexorably moves away from fossil fuels, it is highly likely that renewable gases (both biogas and renewable hydrogen) will have to play a role to ensure California has a reliable supply of safe, affordable, low carbon energy. At the same time, utilities and policymakers in the state will need to assess how energy is produced, delivered, and paid for while evaluating whether the economic mechanisms and utility business models in place today are sufficient to realize the state’s energy vision. In this discussion, energy policy experts will evaluate the likely role of the gas utility in California’s energy future, and the policies that need to be addressed to ensure renewable gas plays an optimal role alongside other energy solutions.

Continue reading on ACT News.