New Study Reveals that More Than $1 Billion is Being Invested in California to Increase the State’s Renewable Gas Supply

Source: GNA | July 28, 2020

Clean technology consulting firm and producers of the annual Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA) has authored a new study to determine California’s future in-state renewable natural gas (RNG) supply, which was unknown until this point. The study, “California’s In-State RNG Supply for Transportation: 2020 to 2024 Assessment” provides industry stakeholders and policymakers an accurate, data-driven estimate for the total near-term volume of RNG that will be produced in-state and made available for transportation use by California fleet operators.

The report, produced with support from the California Natural Gas Vehicle Partnership, Clean Energy Renewable Fuels, Pacific Gas & Electric, Shell, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Southern California Gas Company, Trillium: A Loves Company, and TruStar Energy, was developed to better assess the feasibility of meeting a new requirement for natural gas vehicles to qualify for the Heavy-Duty Vehicle Incentive Program (HVIP), administered by the California Air Resources Board. As of October 2019, natural gas vehicles must be fueled by RNG that is produced in the state to qualify for HVIP funding.

“While newly established HVIP program criteria was intended to encourage the use and production of in-state RNG, there was, until now, no reliable assessment of California’s RNG supply, making it impossible to determine if meeting this new requirement was feasible,” stated Cliff Gladstein, founding president of GNA. “The study determines that not only will there be sufficient supply of in-state RNG to meet this program criteria, but that the cost-effectiveness of the greenhouse gas emission reductions from the use of this in-state resource would be among the best in the state.”

The study’s key findings include:

  • By January 2024, 160 RNG production facilities will be online and producing 119 million DGE of fuel—primarily sourced from dairy farms and landfills—enough to fuel 13,731 natural gas trucks in California annually.
  • More than $1 billion is being invested in California to build the state’s supply of locally produced RNG—with 77% coming from private investors.
  • California-produced RNG will have an average energy-weighted carbon intensity of -101.74 gCO2e/MJ as of January 2024.
  • Fueling natural gas trucks with this upcoming supply of California-produced RNG will enable fleets to generate over 3.4 million tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions annually.
  • If HVIP provided a $45,000 voucher to enable the purchase of all the NGVs that could be fueled by California RNG, this hypothetical new fleet would generate 51.4 million metric tonnes of CO2e and 20.8 thousand tons of NOx reductions, at a cost of $12.03/MT of CO2e and $29,702 per ton of NOx over a 15-year period.

Previous attempts to determine California’s potential future RNG supply have primarily focused on hypothetical production volumes. Researchers have mainly considered the availability of organic feedstocks and modeled theoretical future supply based on assumptions about the gross, technically recoverable, and economically competitive resource base. By using data provided by state and local agencies, project developers, 3rd party marketers and other reliable sources, this inventory assesses the current and future RNG production of existing and developing production facilities. However, with the accelerating pace of development of new RNG production facilities in California, future funding opportunities, as well as pending regulations, actual in-state RNG production is likely to be even greater than the study conservatively estimates.

Report authors, leading industry experts, and one of the nation’s largest investors in RNG production will be offering more insights into the study’s methodology and findings in an upcoming webinar, National & State RNG Supply: Increasing Opportunities for Decarbonization, on July 30, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. PST. The webinar is part of a series hosted by Renewable Gas 360 and held from June 2020 through February 2021, providing continuous curriculum on the critical role renewable gases—renewable hydrogen, methane, propane and syngas—can play in helping states reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce air pollution, diversify energy resources and enhance sustainable economic development.