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    SoCalGas: Gas needed still in energy transition


The company aligned its clean-energy strategy with California's.

by: Daniel Graeber

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SoCalGas: Gas needed still in energy transition

Increased investments in natural gas systems are necessary to support a grid that is utilising power from solar and wind, the head of Southern California Gas Company said in a March 23 op-ed.

Scott Drury, the CEO of SoCalGas, wrote in a piece published by the non-profit media outlet CalMatters that his company was aligning its strategy with a state initiative to realise net-carbon neutrality by 2045.

That said, an all-of-the-above energy strategy may be necessary to support a clean-energy transition.

“We believe in additional investment in renewables and electrification, too. But electrification is not possible without increased investment in the gas system to support wind and solar energy when they are intermittent,” he wrote. “Nor can electrification alone support decarbonisation of our largest greenhouse gas emitters, the industrial and transportation sectors.”

The company, incorporated under parent Sempra Energy, outlined its own strategy on March 23, laying out a step-wise itinerary. For example, the company estimates that by 2030 about half of its existing buildings will be carbon neutral and 100% of the gas vented during any pipeline work will be eliminated.

Through the use of renewable natural gas, hydrogen as a power source and other clean-energy initiatives, the company estimates that it already avoids more than 3.2mn mt/yr of CO2-equivalent emissions, or about the same as removing more than 700,000 passenger vehicles from the road each year.

The largest utility in the US, SoCalGas serves an estimated 22mn customers in California, about half of the state’s total population.