Natural Gas Helping to Achieve Climate Goals

Natural gas is an essential part of everyday life in San Diego, fueling hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses with safe, reliable and clean energy. But did you know this important energy source is also critical to tackling the region’s climate and sustainability goals?

It’s been a steady, successful climb: over the past 15 years, SDG&E has increased the amount of renewable energy delivered to its customers from less than one percent to more than 43 percent today—beating California’s aggressive renewable energy portfolio standards. And natural gas has been there every step of the way, helping to integrate increasing amounts of wind and solar, and acting as a backup source to keep the lights on when renewable resources aren’t abundant.

Cleaning up transportation

While increasing renewable energy is fundamental to the fight against climate change, there are other actions we can take today to clean our air using natural gas. The transportation sector accounts for a majority of carbon emissions—more than half here in San Diego. Reducing the number of diesel and gasoline vehicles on our roads can have enormous positive impacts on air quality.

The San Diego area is home to public transit, school buses, waste-haulers, light- and heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles powered by natural gas—cutting regional carbon emissions by 20–30 percent. And now, new “near-zero” vehicle engines that run on natural gas can reduce NOx emissions by 90 percent! The “near-zero” engines are available today for lighter-duty vehicles like transit and waste haulers, and will be available next year for the heavy-duty truck industry, paving the way for a cleaner, greener planet.

Cleaning up waste

Another way natural gas is sustainable is that it can be produced from a variety of sources, including waste products. Organic waste from landfills, wastewater treatment facilities, dairies and farms can be captured and converted into biogas, a clean and renewable natural gas.

Once converted, this biogas can be cleaned more and upgraded to a pipeline-quality gas, called biomethane for natural gas pipelines. And, unlike other sources of renewable energy, like solar and wind, biomethane doesn’t need the sun to shine or wind to blow; this waste material can be converted into deliverable, renewable energy 24/7.

The pathway to clean

To achieve these greater levels of carbon emission reductions, we need a safe and reliable natural gas system that supports and facilitates our climate goals. The proposed Pipeline Safety & Reliability Project will not only enhance the safety and reliability of our natural gas system, but will also help us get another step closer to meeting our clean air goals. 

Click here to learn more about the proposed pipeline.