Sacramento, CA – Legislation authored by Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica) to establish a renewable gas standard, Senate Bill (SB) 687, passed the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee today on a vote of 7 - 3. The state’s gas sector causes one-quarter of California’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and significant air and water pollution.
“California is a leader in efforts to combat climate change, but our gas usage has been left out of the equation until now. This legislation aims to reduce the harmful impact the natural gas sector, which is a major contributor to global warming, by shifting to more clean and green forms of gas that are readily available,” said Senator Allen.
SB 687 requires the sellers of gas to transition to renewable, less carbon intensive products, such as gas made from organic waste. The proposal is modeled after the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which has doubled the state’s renewable electricity use in the last decade.
Supporters of SB 687 testified that California has the supply to meet a renewable standard as more and more communities are turning organic waste to energy, but its use has not been widely adopted due to a lack of certainty that the product will be purchased once it is produced.
“We have been stuck at 1% renewable gas for more than a decade. …The private sector is not going to make the required investment in renewable gas without market certainty,” Julia Levin, of the Bioenergy Association of California said at today’s hearing.
The renewable standard proposed in SB 687 applies to all sellers of gas in California, including utilities and gas providers who sell directly to large customers. Currently California imports 91% of its gas, making the state vulnerable to supply and price fluctuations. By transitioning to in-state, renewable sources, the legislation is expected to create tens of thousands of in-state jobs.
“SB 687 will improve our energy security by removing our state’s dependence on out-of-state oil suppliers,” Senator Allen pointed out.
SB 687 next will be heard by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on April 29, 2015.
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