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“Clean fuels, including green hydrogen, have an important role to play as California transforms to a carbon-neutral economy over the next 20 years… As this analysis shows, a clean fuels network that carries decarbonized gas provides important features of lower-cost, massive and long-duration storage, and resiliency that Californians demand.”

Jack Brouwer, director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center and Advanced Power and Energy Program at the University of California, Irvine during the announcement of a new economy-wide technical analysis that says clean fuels will play an important role making California carbon neutral.

“Carbon neutrality goals, whether local, regional or national, cannot be achieved without accounting for ways to decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors of the economy,” “This analysis shows there is a way to achieve these goals, utilizing California’s vast, existing, natural gas infrastructure.”

Erin Blanton, senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs on the same California Report.

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) released a new economy-wide technical analysis showing the essential role that clean fuels like hydrogen and renewable natural gas (RNG) will play in a carbon-neutral energy system. The study is called The Role of Clean Fuels and Gas Infrastructure in Achieving California’s Net Zero Climate Goal. The study offers detailed solutions that include the clean fuels infrastructure needed to support and accelerate decarbonization efforts, as well as solutions for the hard-to-abate transportation and industrial sectors.

Key takeaways from the technical analysis include:

  • Electrification combined with clean fuels, carbon management, and technologies like fuel cells deliver the most affordable, resilient, and technologically proven path to full carbon neutrality.

  • Leveraging the gas system to deliver clean fuels and to manage carbon, can reach 100% net-zero goals more affordably, more equitably, and with less risk of power disruptions, customer conversion barriers, and technological limitations.

  • Rapidly scaling up clean fuels initiatives is vital to putting a clean fuels network in place will accelerate meeting climate goals, allowing stakeholders to collaboratively act to expand and accelerate clean fuels initiatives.

The technical analysis demonstrates that a clean fuels network helps support the most cost-effective, resilient, and lowest risk pathway to full carbon neutrality by:

  • Supporting electricity decarbonization: As more solar and wind are integrated onto the grid, and as more end uses are electrified, a clean fuels network supports the reliability of the electric grid by providing indispensable, flexible, and dispatchable power at times when renewables are intermittent.

  • Providing decarbonized energy for hard-to-abate sectors: clean fuels will be essential to decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors of the economy like heavy-duty transportation and industrial activities, which currently account for a disproportionate portion of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Lowering risk through diversification: The analysis shows a diverse set of decarbonization levers reduces the risk of over-dependence on any one technology.

  • Delivering a more affordable and equitable transition: The modeling reveals a clean fuels network is worth between ~$45-$75 billion in savings in transition costs compared to full, economy-wide decarbonization in 2045 with a no fuels network – in California.


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