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Coalitions Urge CEC to Mandate RNG Use in Government Fleets

As the CEC prepares the final draft of its 2017 Integrated Energy Policy Report, the CNGVC and the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas are urging staff to make bolder recommendations for the use of RNG by government agencies. Both organizations say the CEC should add RNG procurement mandates to the 2017 IEPR to accelerate the adoption of renewable natural gas, drive the RNG market, and better meet the requirements of SB 1383, the short-lived climate pollutants bill passed in 2016.

“RNG use shouldn’t be optional—government fleets should be running on the cleanest fuel available,” said Coalition President Thomas Lawson. “Adding mandates for RNG will jump-start the use and production of renewable natural gas in California.”

The CNGVC and the RNG Coalition have identified three ways the CEC can require the use of RNG:

  1. Requiring both investor-owned and municipal utilities to purchase RNG as part of their gas and energy portfolios.
  2. Requiring all municipally owned heavy-duty fleets and commercial vehicles to run on RNG fuels.
  3. Requiring local governments to give preference to waste haulers that use RNG-powered trucks.

“Through overarching direction for the mandatory procurement and use of RNG, the state can drive action from manufacturers as well as change the way municipal and private fleets procure vehicles,” Lawson said.

In the Coalition’s comment letter to the CEC, Lawson pointed out the feasibility of making the use of RNG mandatory for government fleets, since RNG engines certified at the optional 0.02 grams per brake horsepower-hour low-NOx level can power vehicles of all sizes.

“The demand for RNG as a transportation fuel will only increase, especially as the Cummins Westport 11.9-liter near-zero-NOx emissions engine is rolled out this spring,” said Lawson. “California’s energy policy should support the robust in-state production of RNG as an alternative fuel for vehicles of all weights and applications.”

RNG Will Help State Meet SB 1383 Pollutant Reductions

In addition to supporting growing RNG production, fleet mandates would also help the state meet the regulations in SB 1383.

SB 1383 requires CARB to adopt regulations that reduce short-lived climate pollutants, including methane emissions from livestock; to implement policies to increase the production and use of renewable natural gas; and to achieve waste reduction targets. The CEC can further help the state meet all these requirements by mandating the use of organically derived RNG, which is produced from manure at dairies and food waste from landfills, among other sources. Such a mandate would also strengthen the market need for anaerobic digesters and other tools that turn organic waste into biomethane.

“These policies would help drive the organic waste recycling markets that are necessary to achieve the organic waste reduction mandates in SB 1383 and help decarbonize the state’s economy,” said Nina Kapoor, director of state affairs for the RNG Coalition, in her comment letter to the CEC.

The CEC has no more public workshops planned to discuss the draft report, and will be releasing the final 2017 IEPR in January and adopting it in February.

Photo ©Westport Innovations, used by permission