Renewable natural gas is the future. We're ready.

Renewable natural gas from organic material
While we work to fuel the Pacific Northwest with natural gas every day, we also innovate new, sustainable ways to meet the demands of the region's growing population.
Renewable natural gas is produced from organic materials like food, agricultural and forestry waste, landfills and wastewater. With recent advancements in technology, the gases from those waste streams can now be cleaned up and added into our pipeline network to serve homes and businesses. This turns the problem of waste into a powerful climate solution using our pipeline network already in place. 
Renewable natural gas

Where does renewable natural gas come from?

Renewable natural gas is a zero-carbon resource produced from local, organic materials like food, agricultural and forestry waste, wastewater or landfills. As these materials decompose, they produce methane. That methane can be captured, conditioned to pipeline quality and delivered in the existing pipeline system to homes and businesses where it can be used in existing appliances and equipment. It can also be used in natural gas vehicles. This process closes the loop on waste and provides a renewable energy option for the natural gas system, in the same way that wind and solar are used to generate renewable electricity.
 
Renewable natural gas potential

How much renewable natural gas is possible?

In 2018, the Oregon Department of Energy released its first inventory of technical potential and estimated there are enough sources statewide to produce nearly 50 billion cubic feet (BCF) of renewable natural gas. That's equivalent to the total amount of natural gas used by all Oregon residential customers today.
On a national level, the technical potential for renewable natural gas is correspondingly greater. A recent study, conducted by ICF Consulting through the American Gas Foundation, estimates the technical potential of renewable natural gas supply is substantial when compared to current natural gas throughput. In fact, when looking at development costs and existing technologies, the report estimates there is enough potential renewable natural gas to achieve a 95% reduction in emissions in the residential sector.
The supply estimates from the ICF report do not include the potential for renewable hydrogen for the pipeline network or the impacts of deep energy efficiency to reduce future energy use. With these collective innovations pursued together, the company believes a carbon neutral vision for the gas pipeline network is possible.
 
Renewable natural gas future

What it means for the future

Replacing more and more of our natural gas supply with renewable natural gas in our existing pipeline infrastructure, combined with energy efficiency and wide adoption of our carbon offset program, will yield the fastest and most affordable results for our communities and the planet.

NW Natural is working on projects now that will soon flow renewable natural gas into our pipeline system to serve the transportation market: at the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services’ Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant; at the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission facility in Lane County; and at Shell New Energies in Junction City. Collectively, these projects are designed to provide immediate and impactful emissions and air quality benefits.
Renewable natural gas benefits

Reduces carbon emissions

Renewable natural gas is a zero-carbon resource produced from local organic materials such as food, agricultural and forestry waste, wastewater or landfills.

  • Replenishes naturally from decomposing organic materials.
  • New innovations give us the ability to capture that methane and transform it into renewable natural gas — stopping the environmental damage before it starts and creating a valuable new source of energy.
  • Works with the same equipment and appliances that deliver and use natural gas.
  • Used in vehicles today.

What about renewable hydrogen?

There is also the ability to create renewable hydrogen from wind and solar energy that would otherwise go to waste — and distribute that into the pipeline network. In fact, a team of Pacific Northwest public and private organizations have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the development of what would be one of the largest renewable hydrogen production facilities in North America.

Oregon rulemaking for SB 98 wraps up, allowing NW Natural to deliver renewable energy to customers

Rulemaking for Senate Bill 98 (SB 98) is now complete, giving NW Natural a clear path to acquire renewable natural gas on behalf of customers, and forging the way for this newest renewable resource to be an increasing part of the state's energy supply.

NW Natural worked collaboratively with legislators and renewable natural gas stakeholders to create SB 98, a groundbreaking bill that was signed into law by Oregon Governor Kate Brown in 2019. Since then, the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (OPUC), consumer groups and natural gas utilities have been working through a rulemaking process, so natural gas utilities can begin procuring renewable natural gas under the legislation.  

Renewable natural gas is a zero-carbon resource produced from local organic materials such as food, agricultural and forestry waste, wastewater or landfills. The gas can be cleaned and added into the existing natural gas system, where it is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas.

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We're excited to use this landmark law, one of the first of its kind in the nation, to acquire a renewable product for our customers and bring our region one step closer to a clean energy future. Another important benefit is that local communities now have a potential revenue source to turn their waste into energy.

Renewable natural gas closes the loop on waste

More information about SB 98

Happening now: NW Natural renewable energy programs

 

RNG Development RFP

A forthcoming RFP for RNG project-development opportunities will be available in fall 2020. To be placed on the distribution list for that RFP, please contact renewables@nwnatural.com.

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