Renewable natural gas bill signed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown

July 31, 2019. Oregon Governor Kate Brown has signed Senate Bill 98 into law, creating the path for renewable natural gas (RNG) to become an increasing part of the state’s energy supply. NW Natural, a subsidiary of NW Natural Holding Company, worked with legislators to propose SB 98 to enable utilities to acquire renewable natural gas on behalf of Oregon customers.

   Renewable natural gas is a zero carbon resource produced from local organic materials like food, agricultural and forestry waste, wastewater, or landfills, which can be added into the existing natural gas system.

   SB 98 outlines goals for adding as much as 30% renewable natural gas into the state’s pipeline system. There will be limits on the total amount paid for renewable natural gas that is overseen by regulators, protecting utilities and ratepayers from excessive costs as the market develops.

   “Oregon has long been a place for innovation in environmental protections, and this legislation continues that tradition,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Allowing our natural gas utilities to acquire a renewable product for their customers brings us one step closer to a clean energy future.”

   “This is the first piece of legislation of its kind in the nation and we couldn’t be more pleased to lead the way,” said David H. Anderson, president and CEO of NW Natural. “This is an important step in supporting our region’s move to more renewable energy, closing the loop on waste and investing in homegrown solutions that address climate change.”

   “I’m proud to have worked with NW Natural and others to shepherd through this innovative policy that carves a renewable energy path for other states to follow,” said State Senator Michael Dembrow (District 23), chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. “This legislation will also create new, sustainable job opportunities throughout the state as this burgeoning local industry develops.”

   “It’s essential that natural gas companies invest in renewable technologies to reduce greenhouse gas impacts and this is an important step,” said Meredith Connolly, Oregon director of Climate Solutions. “We appreciate NW Natural’s leadership to develop meaningful plans for clean energy solutions, including this piece of legislation.”

   The new law sets voluntary renewable natural gas goals for Oregon’s natural gas utilities. Additionally, it allows utility investment in the interconnection of renewable natural gas production; supports targets of 15% by 2030, 20% by 2035 and 30% by 2050; establishes an overall spending limit for renewable natural gas supply; and provides local communities a potential revenue source to turn their waste into energy.

   “SB 98 is a groundbreaking piece of legislation,” explains Nina Kapoor, director of State Government Affairs for the national Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas. “Several states have advanced policies in recent years to support renewable natural gas, however, the Oregon law goes further than any other by setting clear goals for renewable natural gas procurement.”