HELPING TO BUILD A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE: Innovation, Collaboration, and Decarbonization

by | May 7, 2024 | Stories

The Climate Leadership Conference (CLC) is one of America’s most valuable forums for progress on climate and clean energy. SoCalGas attends and sponsors the CLC in support of California’s clean energy goals, to engage with other leaders to promote decarbonization around the globe, and to further progress toward our ASPIRE 2045 sustainability strategy goal of being net zero across scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions.

The values of the CLC align with SoCalGas’ core values of doing the right thing, championing people, and shaping the future. In parallel with the CLC, SoCalGas is playing a leadership role in addressing the climate crisis through policy, innovation, and business solutions.

SoCalGas’ mission is to build the cleanest, safest, and most innovative energy infrastructure company in America. Every Californian deserves a clean, affordable, and resilient energy future, and SoCalGas is working to achieve that future and advance California’s climate goals by investing in innovation to advance decarbonization, leveraging our infrastructure to provide reliable and flexible energy delivery.

Our ASPIRE 2045 Sustainability Strategy further integrates sustainability across our business. SoCalGas was among the first and largest gas distribution utility in North America to set a net-zero target including all three scopes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Advancing our ASPIRE 2045 vision requires bold innovation. In partnership with the National Fuel Cell Research Center and University of California, Irvine, we demonstrated the nation’s first power-to-gas hydrogen pipeline injection pilot project using surplus renewable power to produce clean renewable hydrogen that could be blended into the gas system for long-duration energy storage. In 2022, we worked with NASA to detect, locate, and fix methane leaks in our infrastructure using remote sensors on airplanes. The remote sensors can go to space on satellites to locate and quantify leaks nearly anywhere in the world, helping to achieve climate accountability.

We are already seeing meaningful results. As a founding member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Natural Gas STAR program, we reduced methane emissions two decades before regulations were in place—SoCalGas was the first gas utility in the nation to aerially map methane emissions, and as of 2021, we have reduced our fugitive methane emissions by 37% from a 2015 emissions baseline, exceeding California’s goal of a 20% reduction by 2025, four years ahead of schedule.

Advancing clean fuels is a key strategy in decarbonizing our system and operations. We delivered approximately 5% renewable natural gas to our core customers in 2023, with a goal of 20% by 2030. Moreover, SoCalGas has converted 36% of our over-the-road fleet to alternative fuel vehicles and replaced fossil natural gas at our vehicle fueling stations with renewable natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of our operations.

We are bringing the conceptual to life, demonstrating the integral and complementary role of clean fuels and electrification through our [H2] Innovation Experience project. SoCalGas’ [H2] Innovation Experience is one of the first fully integrated demonstration projects that incorporates solar, energy storage, fuel cell and electrolyzer technologies to supply electricity to the home and produce clean renewable hydrogen to blend with natural gas for use in the home. This project demonstrates how clean renewable hydrogen made from renewable electricity can be used in pure form or as a blend to fuel energy systems and provide reliability and resiliency benefits to communities of the future.

Broad stakeholder partnerships will be necessary to solve the complex challenges of climate change. SoCalGas is a proud partner of the Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES), California’s statewide public-private partnership and organizer of California’s Department of Energy clean hydrogen hub application. To accelerate decarbonization and address the challenge of decarbonizing the hard-to-electrify activities, SoCalGas is proposing the nation’s largest clean renewable hydrogen pipeline system, Angeles Link. If constructed, Angeles Link would be an open access pipeline dedicated to public use that could deliver resilient, dispatchable, renewable clean hydrogen to industrial, transportation, and power generation sectors in Central and Southern California.

In alignment with the CLC’s values, and in partnership with other energy leaders, SoCalGas is helping to build a clean energy future through innovation, collaboration, and decarbonization to serve as a model for industry peers domestically and globally.

*The opinions expressed within the content are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of The Climate Registry.