Fueling a renewable energy future

Shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy is at the center of our Low Carbon Pathway plan to reduce carbon emissions XX% by 2035. It’s not just a pipe dream: We’re already procuring supplies of renewable natural gas (RNG), a low-carbon natural gas alternative that can be transported through our gas system just as wind and solar energy are transmitted through existing electrical poles and wires.

 

According to the EPA, decomposing waste accounts for 26% of U.S. methane emissions. By adding RNG to our pipeline system we can prevent the release of this potent greenhouse gas while reducing the amount of conventional natural gas flowing through our pipelines.


 

What is renewable natural gas?

Waste streams like trash, wastewater and agricultural manure emit the potent greenhouse gas methane as they decompose. Renewable natural gas (RNG) is a low-carbon fuel produced by capturing that methane before it escapes into the atmosphere. Once it’s conditioned, RNG replaces fossil fuels and behaves just like conventional natural gas. It can also fuel heavy-duty vehicles.

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RNG benefits

The potential supply of RNG is abundant

The Oregon Department of Energy's first Renewable Natural Gas inventory, released in 2018, estimated there are enough sources statewide to produce nearly 50 billion cubic feet (BCF) of renewable natural gas – equivalent to the total amount of natural gas used by all Oregon residential customers today.

Nationwide, RNG production potential is estimated to be 10 to 30 times greater than current production. In 2021, the number of production facilities in the U.S. grew 33.5%.

Our renewable natural gas projects

We’re not just talking about RNG, we’re investing in it. We have a team focused exclusively on securing supplies of RNG at the best possible price for our customers.

Agricultural waste

Agricultural waste

The Shell New Energies Junction City facility in Oregon uses locally sourced cow manure and agricultural residues to produce RNG. It began sending renewable natural gas through NW Natural pipelines in Dec. 2021. The RNG operation supports the local economy and helps farmers manage agricultural wastes, reduce expenses and protect air and water quality.

Wastewater

Wastewater

In 2022, the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission's wastewater treatment plant in Eugene became the first wastewater facility in Oregon to produce RNG. Biogas from the anaerobic digesters that stabilize and treat solids is "scrubbed," transforming 100% of what would otherwise be a waste product into a sustainable energy source that is injected into NW Natural's system. MWMC is the first public agency in Oregon to complete a project of this kind.

Landfill

Landfill

Through our partnerships with companies that produce and market RNG generated from landfill waste, we’re lowering emissions on behalf of our customers and helping communities close the loop on waste.

Senate Bill 98

 Find out about the groundbreaking Oregon legislation that made these investments possible

We expect to have enough RNG to get to at least 5% of our annual sales volume within the next two years and 10% by 2029. Wind and solar generation currently supply just 12% of our nation’s electricity—after more than two decades of active development and public policy support.

Anna Chittum

Director of renewables, NW Natural

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