Pathways to decarbonization

 
 

NW Natural is helping the region meet its climate challenge, with new approaches to capturing, storing and delivering clean energy.

Pivotal role for natural gas

A new study commissioned by NW Natural and conducted by independent consulting firm, Energy and Environmental Economics (E3), shows natural gas plays a pivotal role in helping the region meet dramatic emission reduction goals most affordably and reliably.

To date, all decarbonization studies agree that meeting the challenge of 80% carbon reduction by 2050 means using energy more efficiently, ramping up renewable resources, electrifying passenger vehicles, and aggressively developing biofuels like renewable natural gas.

E3’s study also takes a hard look at how to meet the energy needs of homes and businesses on the coldest winter days in the Pacific Northwest—times when the regional energy infrastructure is already at or near capacity.

The study found that using the existing natural gas system and adding 25% renewable natural gas (RNG) to heat homes can help reduce emissions more affordably and reliably than other pathways considered.

 
 
_0001_PrideParade2-DMH_3630.png

Pivotal role for natural gas

A new study commissioned by NW Natural and conducted by independent consulting firm, Energy and Environmental Economics (E3), shows natural gas plays a pivotal role in helping the region meet dramatic emission reduction goals most affordably and reliably.

To date, all decarbonization studies agree that meeting the challenge of 80% carbon reduction by 2050 means using energy more efficiently, ramping up renewable resources, electrifying passenger vehicles, and aggressively developing biofuels like renewable natural gas.

E3’s study also takes a hard look at how to meet the energy needs of homes and businesses on the coldest winter days in the Pacific Northwest—times when the regional energy infrastructure is already at or near capacity.

The study found that using the existing natural gas system and adding 25% renewable natural gas (RNG) to heat homes can help reduce emissions more affordably and reliably than other pathways considered.

_0003_BikeChallenge-PuzioG_2.png

Renewable natural gas in Oregon

Organic materials like wood waste, food and agricultural waste, and even human waste all release biogases as they decompose. Now we can capture those gases and condition it to pipeline quality renewable natural gas.

With renewable natural gas, we’re finding new ways to lower emissions and at the same time close the loop on this waste, beginning with wastewater treatment plants here in Oregon. We’re also looking ahead at other sources, such as landfills, food scraps, dairy farms and wood waste.

Graphic: 50 billion cubic feet

Potential for renewable natural gas production in Oregon, according to a 2018 Oregon Department of Energy report.

_0002_FoodBank-CurnitaVickyDiana_OFB_Oct2018.png

Power to Gas

What if you could capture and store surplus wind and solar energy by converting to a renewable gas? That’s the promise of power-to-gas, a cutting edge technology that uses clean electricity and electrolysis to produce hydrogen from water.

This renewably produced hydrogen could potentially can be blended into the natural gas system or used as a vehicle fuel and in fuel cells.

Today we’re working with other utilities, universities and manufacturers to better understand the technical and regulatory requirements for power to gas.

NW Natural also helped launch the Renewable Hydrogen Alliance, a trade association supporting hydrogen and power to gas in the policy arena. 

Power to gas graphic