Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., has signed into law a bill designed to encourage the increased development and use of renewable natural gas (RNG) in Washington State.
According to the Northwest Gas Association (NWGA), H.B.2580 passed the legislature just hours before the end of legislative session on March 8 and was signed by Inslee on Thursday morning. NWGA says nearly unanimous legislative backing for the bill signals strong interest in and support for the further development and adoption of RNG.
The group explains that H.B.2580 will encourage RNG expansion through tax incentives and a suite of other tools, including an inventory of potential RNG supply and associated costs; voluntary gas quality standards for injecting RNG into the natural gas system; and additional policy recommendations to promote RNG development.
“The Northwest Gas Association thanks Governor Inslee for seeking this important measure and Rep. Jeff Morris for being its champion through the legislative process,” says Dan Kirschner, NWGA’s executive director. “NWGA members look forward to supplying this clean, green energy resource to consumers across the Northwest via the region’s safe and reliable natural gas delivery system.”
“This bill will help in our fight against climate change by reducing highly polluting methane emissions and displacing fossil fuels with low-carbon, renewable sources of biogas,” states the governor. “As we transition to a clean energy future, this will help us promote production of renewable natural gas from landfills, wastewater treatment plants, food processing and agriculture, while also helping create jobs and promote rural economic development across our state.”
Another proponent of the bill, the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (the RNG Coalition), says the bill will do as follows to spur the development of RNG in Washington:
- Require the Washington State University Extension Energy Program and the Department of Commerce, in consultation with the Utilities and Transportation Commission, to submit recommendations on how to promote the sustainable development of RNG to the governor and the energy committees of the legislature by Sept. 1, 2018;
- Require the Department of Commerce, in consultation with natural gas utilities and other state agencies, to explore the development of voluntary gas quality standards for the injection of RNG into the state’s natural gas pipeline system; and
- Reinstate and expand incentives in order to stimulate investment in biogas capture and conditioning, compression and nutrient recovery, and the use of RNG for heating, electricity generation and transportation.
“By supporting renewable natural gas project development, Washington’s leaders are supporting the creation of clean energy sector jobs, improved air quality and public health,” comments Johannes Escudero, CEO of the RNG Coalition. “Methane mitigation, carbon sequestration and decarbonization of our existing natural gas infrastructure occur with each new RNG project.”
“What could be better than turning waste into useful energy?” adds Kirschner. “It reminds me of the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor in the movie Back to the Future. Thanks to the foresight of Governor Inslee and the legislature, the future is now as we incorporate this innovative and renewable resource into Washington’s energy portfolio.”