Deploying trucks powered by RNG could create as many as 130,000 new jobs in California and add $14 billion to the state’s economy by 2030, according to a new study released at the ACT Expo by the CNGVC and the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition).
The two organizations commissioned the study, Economic Impacts of Deploying Low-NOx Trucks Fueled by Renewable Natural Gas, from consulting firm ICF. The study takes a deep dive into the economic potential of fueling heavy-duty trucks with California-produced RNG instead of diesel. It also illustrates RNG’s potential to help the state reduce its dependence on petroleum, finding that low-NOx trucks powered by California-produced RNG could displace 1 billion gallons of diesel fuel every year.
“This study affirms what we have been advocating—increased production, deployment, and utilization of RNG realizes significant benefits not only for our environment, but for our economy as well,” said Johannes Escudero, CEO of the RNG Coalition.
“Our industry is eager to develop new projects, create additional employment opportunities, and supply the heavy-duty truck sector in California with renewable natural gas—the least carbon-intense transportation fuel commercially available,” he added.
The study shows that switching heavy-duty trucks to RNG-powered engines could quickly help California achieve its clean-air and climate-change goals. Fleets could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as much as 70 percent by powering trucks of all sizes with RNG. The latest near-zero-NOx heavy-duty NGV engines are powerful enough for transit and refuse trucks and big enough to haul freight—and, according to the EPA, they reduce NOx emissions 90 percent. A 9-liter, 320-horsepower engine that runs on RNG is already available; a 12-liter, 400-horsepower near-zero-NOx engine is slated for production later this year.
Two scenarios show billions in benefits
The study considers two scenarios: deploying low-NOx, RNG-powered trucks only at the San Pedro Bay Ports in Southern California, and deploying them throughout the state in line with the CARB mobile source strategy.
According to ICF, transitioning to RNG trucks at the two San Pedro Bay Ports would add more than 23,000 jobs and generate $2 billion in economic benefits. In this scenario, 17,000 low-NOx trucks running on RNG would replace diesel vehicles. A statewide deployment of natural gas trucks, natural gas fueling infrastructure, and in-state RNG production would result in the creation of 81,000–134,000 new jobs in California from 2018 to 2030, yielding $14 billion in economic benefits. In this scenario, the state would deploy between 172,000 and 516,000 low-NOx RNG trucks.
The study says that even a modest investment in facilities that capture methane at waste streams—including dairies, wastewater treatment plants, and landfills—and turn it into RNG could yield more than 500 million dges of RNG at 175 production facilities. And that represents only a fraction of the state’s RNG production potential, according to ICF.
Infrastructure development creates jobs
Construction, manufacturing, equipment maintenance and repair, engineering services, and environmental consulting services related to these facilities would create most of the new jobs, according to the study. ICF pegs the average income per new job at $68,000, which is more than twice the median salary of California workers.
The benefits to California’s economy wouldn’t be limited to the RNG sector. According to ICF, every job created through investment in low-NOx natural gas trucks, fueling infrastructure, and production facilities would generate an average of two more jobs in supporting industries, such as accounting services and restaurants.
“We recognize the importance of ensuring not only that we clean up our air, but also that we consider the impact on our economy when evaluating solutions,” said Coalition President Thomas Lawson.
“This study shows that renewable natural gas deployed in natural gas trucks will improve our air quality and serve as an economic engine for all Californians.”ACT Expo, Coalition news, renewable fuels
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