December 19, 2019. National Grid is encouraged by a first-of-its-kind study that shows the availability of renewable natural gas (RNG) and its potential to drastically curb greenhouse gas emissions in the fight against climate change.

RNG is pipeline-compatible gaseous fuel derived from biogenic or other renewable sources that have lower lifecycle carbon dioxide equivalent emissions than geological natural gas. The study, co-sponsored by National Grid and other utilities, and conducted by ICF in partnership with the American Gas Foundation, estimates that by 2040, about 4,513 trillion British thermal units (Btus) of RNG could be produced annually, at a competitive cost. This measurement of RNG Btus, a universally accepted measurement of the heating value of gas, represents a 95 percent reduction in natural gas emissions from the residential sector and enough production to meet all U.S. residential heating demand.

“As we work to hit economy-wide emissions reduction targets, we can’t afford to leave any solution off the table, and this study further evidences that the gas network can play an integral role in delivering a low carbon future, alongside the electric network,” said Cordi O’Hara, Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Gas, National Grid.

RNG, which uses the gas network as a storage and distribution system, does not require customers to change their heating appliances. It can help reduce heating emissions and decarbonize the gas system, like wind and solar, have decarbonized the electric network. RNG is generated through a variety of existing waste streams including dairy/animal residuals, landfill biomass material, food waste, and wastewater treatment-produced gases. In a few years, the sources of RNG will also include renewable generation that will lead to the production of hydrogen or methane, a concept known as ‘power-to-gas.’

“We look forward to working with our elected officials, regulators, community stakeholders, and industry partners to develop the right policy frameworks to utilize this resource for the benefit of our customers and our environment,” O’Hara said.