Grilling on the Fourth of July

According to a Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association survey, 73 percent of Americans will spend their Fourth of July holiday cooking outdoors. And natural gas is by far the most popular type of grill with 64 percent saying that’s their preference over charcoal or electric. Grilling is simply synonymous with the holiday.

Whether you’re planning a backyard barbeque for two or 20, Americans celebrate our country’s birthday by coming together as family, friends, and neighbors over a deliciously grilled meal and fireworks overhead. After prepping those burgers, hot dogs, chicken, salmon, oysters, and veggies, with the touch of a button, your gas grill is ready, and the clean-burning natural gas means less smoke dampening the mood.

In the beautiful Pacific Northwest, summer is the best time for sitting comfortably with friends or family in the backyard on a cool evening, with a warm fire and dinner sizzling on the grill — it’s pure pleasure.

Please stay safe this Fourth of July and enjoy that natural gas grill all summer long. Here are some helpful grilling tips:

  • Place your grill at least 10 feet away from other objects, including the house, combustibles, and any shrubs or bushes.
  • Always stay by the grill when cooking.
  • Trim excess fat from meat and poultry to reduce grill flare-ups.
  • Use the appropriate temperature to cook food, using lower temperatures for smaller items or larger cuts of meat that will take a long time.
  • Place veggies on the edges of the grill to prevent overcooking.
  • Before lighting the grill, apply non-stick spray on the grates for easy cleanup.

Share your favorite grilling recipes by tagging @pepnorthwest and use the hashtags #GrillingWithGas and #CookingOutdoors.

By Scott Ongley, President of Northwest Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association

Fueling Our Communities

Americans are seeing firsthand the critical role that energy plays in meeting their daily needs and how the natural gas industry is #FuelingOurCommunities. The industry keeps delivering essential energy to the homes that have become offices, schools, and gyms, and the manufacturing facilities that continue to produce food, supplies, and personal protective equipment. It continues to fuel the frontline facilities where healthcare professionals are fighting COVID-19 every day. Providing affordable energy will boost an economic recovery that we all hope is on the horizon.

DIGGING SAFELY THIS SPRING MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

April heralds the advent of spring, including warmer weather and sunshine in the Pacific Northwest. Spring means more construction as well as tending to and planting gardens and other vegetation. Both activities involve digging.

That is why April is National Safe Digging Month. Before digging a hole more than 12 inches deep for any purpose, it is critical to “know what’s below”. Here is a guest blog from NW Natural that includes a terrific checklist to use before digging, whether you are a contractor or a homeowner. Most importantly, always call 811 before you dig.

DIGGING SAFELY THIS SPRING MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

News Release from NW Natural
Posted on FlashAlert: April 15th, 2020 9:48 AM

With more people at home doing yard projects, NW Natural reminds customers and contractors to call before digging

PORTLAND, Ore. — April marks National Safe Digging Month, a time to remember to call 811 to have underground utility lines located before digging in your yard, garden and beyond. This spring, that reminder is even more important with so many people in the Northwest staying home to stay healthy and potentially doing more yardwork than normal.

“If you or a contractor will be digging in your yard, make sure you call 811 at least two days ahead of time. Locate crews are still working during this time and abiding by all COVID-19 safety recommendations,” said Scott Gallegos, NW Natural’s damage prevention supervisor. “It’s a free service, and it’s the law.”

Nationally, the most common cause of a natural gas pipeline damage is someone accidentally digging into the pipe. Accidentally hitting an underground utility line can interrupt service to entire neighborhoods and lead to serious injuries, fines and costly repairs.

A helpful checklist to get started:

  • Regardless of digging depth or familiarity with the property, make your request at least two business days before you plan to dig.
  • Call 811 or use the free NW Natural Safety App.
  • When you call 811, the Oregon Utility Notification Center notifies local utility companies of the intent to dig. Then a professional locator visits the site to mark the location of underground utility lines. The OUNC says the contractors who come out to mark buried lines will follow COVID-19 health safety precautions.
  • Confirm with 811 that all lines have been marked.
  • Consider moving your project location if it’s near utility line markings.
  • If working with a contractor, confirm a call to 811 has been made. Don’t allow work to begin if lines aren’t marked.

If while you’re digging, you accidentally hit a gas line, report it immediately by calling 911 or NW Natural’s 24-hour emergency line at 800-882-3377. No damage is too small to report, even a small dent could weaken a natural gas line.

Always remember: Smell. Go. Let us know. If you smell natural gas, leave the area immediately, then call us at 800-882-3377 and we will come over to check things out. During COVID-19, NW Natural’s crews are following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines regarding social distancing, face covering and sanitizing protocols.

For more information, visit https://www.nwnatural.com/Residential/Safety/811CallBeforeYouDig.

2020 Gas Outlook Released

On April 16, Dan Kirschner will present the 2020 Gas Outlook on a live webinar. Register now by clicking here.

 

The Outlook continues to include current data and narrative on supply and prices, but more as background information because North American natural gas is projected to be an ample, low-priced commodity for the foreseeable future. However, the true value of the Outlook – aggregating and analyzing regional demand and delivery infrastructure data to inform policymakers and other stakeholders throughout the Northwest – remains the report’s core focus. Updated numbers and our forecast are presented in the Demand section and an expanded Capacity section, and in the appendices. We’ve also added two deeper dive articles exploring renewable natural gases and upstream methane emissions. The 2020 Gas Outlook is now available by clicking here.

 

POSTPONED- Annual Energy Conference

The NWGA and AWEC have postponed the 17th Annual Energy Conference to November 4-5, 2020 at the Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA. Originally scheduled for June 3-4, we made the difficult decision to postpone the event due to the Coronavirus pandemic. If you previously made a reservation at the Skamania Lodge it has been canceled. We will notify you when you are able to reserve a room in the new room block. *** Note: Skamania Lodge is closed for the next 60 days. ***

We remain grateful to all of our sponsors for their continued support of the Annual Energy Conference, including our dedicated Platinum sponsors BP/IGI Resources and Calpine Energy Solutions; gold sponsor United Energy Trading, LLC; silver sponsors Cost Management Services, Davison Van Cleve, NIPPC, Stoel Rives, and bronze sponsor Cable Huston. If you are interested in joining our sponsors, click here to find out more.

Cooking with Gas

The American Gas Association recently announced a partnership with Food Network star Amber Kelley to highlight natural gas as the tool of choice for chefs everywhere. 

The simple turn of a knob on a gas range gives chefs the control they need to make anything they can imagine. There is no other technology that allows the control and high heat content that natural gas offers, and chefs around the world rely on our resource as a critical tool in the cooking craft. 

The value of natural gas does not stop in professional kitchens. Homeowners across the world prefer natural gas as their go-to cooking resource. Aside from providing a superior cooking experience, a study by Market Strategies International showed that 90% of homebuyers say they’d pay $50,000 more for a home with natural gas appliances.

Sixteen-year-old Amber Kelley is a cookbook author, speaker, winner of Food Network Star Kids, and the host of her popular Youtube series Cook With Amber. From her appearances on The Disney Channel, E!, and the Today Show, to her endorsement from Jamie Oliver, Amber is inspiring a whole new generation of eaters to get in the kitchen and have fun. We are excited to hear from Amber on how natural gas supports her budding cooking career.

GUEST BLOG: The Growing Importance of Renewable Natural Gas

President Obama’s Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, makes the case in the recent study“Pathways for Deep Decarbonization in California: Summary for Policymakers.”

“Clean fuels (e.g., renewable natural gas [RNG], hydrogen, biofuels) are critical clean energy pathways due to the enormous value of fuels in providing flexibility and reliability for energy systems. Fuels that are durable, storable, and easily transportable play a fundamental role in ensuring that all sectors can operate at the scale, timing, frequency, and levels of reliability that are required to meet social, economic, and stakeholder needs.

“The development of RNG in California has multiple tangible benefits: RNG is a carbon-neutral fuel; RNG diverts methane from being released into the atmosphere, enabling major emissions reductions from the difficult-to-decarbonize Industry and Agriculture sectors; and it leverages existing carbon infrastructure, potentially avoiding the costly stranding of these established systems and their associated workforces, as well as their time-consuming and costly replacement.”

This blog was posted with express permission from Jon Switalski. For more information on how you can help, please contact C4BES Executive Director Jon Switalski at (310) 625-4072 or jswitalski@c4bes.org. To learn more about C4BES click here. To learn more renewable natural gas in the Pacific Northwest click here.

2019 Annual Energy Conference

Thank you for those who attended the 2019 Annual Energy Conference. Please take the survey located here to weigh in; your feedback helps shape future conferences. This year we had 178 attendees and a great speaker line up. We would like to thank our platinum sponsors, IGI Resources/BP, and Calpine Energy Solutions, gold sponsor United Energy Trading LLC, silver sponsors Cable Huston, CMS, Davison Van Cleve, NW Innovation Works, PacifiCorp, Rosen, Shell, and Stoel Rives, and Bronze sponsors Black & Veatch, PGE, Jordan Cover LNG, and NIPPC for their continued support of the event.

If you are interested in attending the 2020 Annual Energy Conference mark your calendar for June 3-4, 2020. If you are interested in sponsoring the conference, let us know.

 

Guest Blog: President Obama’s former Energy Secretary on Why Electricity is Not Enough

On April 11 a much-anticipated report was released by The Energy Futures Initiative that analyzes the ways California can meet its aggressive low-carbon energy goals. The report, which was authored by a team led by President Obama’s former Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest J. Moniz, outlines an innovation agenda needed for deep decarbonization by 2050

Cap and Trade Fact Sheet

The current HB 2020 proposal gives free credits to Oregon’s electric utilities in recognition of prior legislatively mandated green initiatives. It treats the more than two million Oregon residents and businesses who rely on natural gas for warmth, comfort and productive energy differently, ignoring the strides that Oregon LDCs and their customers have made in reducing emissions through system maintenance, modernization, and efficiency initiatives.

HB 2020 as currently composed is punitive to Oregon’s natural gas customers and unfair. The state is already seeing emissions reductions from the transition to and increasing reliance on natural gas as a cleaner, reliable fuel for generating electricity. The state is also seeing significant emissions-related benefits by virtue of the highly efficient direct use of natural gas for residential and commercial space and water heat. All natural gas utility customers should receive a fair share of allowances to mitigate rate impacts.

To download the NWGA Cap and Trade Fact Sheet, click here.

NWGA’s Climate Action Principles

Climate change is an important issue. States and provinces across the Pacific Northwest are developing policies to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Natural gas – a clean, low-cost and abundant energy resource – is already reducing GHGs across North America and the region. In short, Northwest Gas Association members (NWGA) are committed to addressing climate change and maintain that natural gas is a climate solution.

To download the NWGA Policy Principles for Climate Action, click here.