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NWGA member Puget Sound Energy Announces Net-zero Carbon Emissions Goal, Including Natural Gas Sold to Customers, by 2045

NWGA member company Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has announced their goal and plan to reduce its carbon equivalent emissions to zero and to ultimately go beyond net-zero carbon by working with customers and communities to reduce their carbon impacts as well.

“We will work with our customers, as well as our lawmakers and regulators, to push a path forward, based on data and facts, which will drive significant and meaningful change,” said Mary Kipp, PSE’s President, and CEO. Click here to read PSE’s media release.

This announcement is part of PSE’s ongoing effort to address climate change, which has included investing billions of dollars in renewable resources and energy efficiency for homes and businesses. PSE also reaffirmed its commitment to delivering on the objectives of Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA). Click here to view an outline of PSE’s commitments and goals to reach Beyond Net Zero Carbon by 2045.

Regarding natural gas, PSE’s goal is to reach net-zero carbon emissions for natural gas sales — customer use in homes and businesses — by 2045 with an interim target of a 30% emissions reduction by 2030.

Achieving cost-effective carbon emission reductions across sectors and the region will require strong partnerships between PSE, its customers, policymakers, and industry. “There are numerous areas where PSE will lead but equally as many that need outside support – from stakeholders and our customers to enablers like policy and regulatory changes,” said Ms. Kipp.

Click here to access a whitepaper that describes in-depth the details of PSE’s “Beyond Net Zero Carbon Pledge.”

Cooking with Gas!

Cooking with natural gas remains the favorite energy choice of those who love to cook. It’s not even close. That’s how the phrase, “Now we’re cooking with gas!” was coined. It expresses enthusiasm, signifying that everything is aligned and working well together; that a plan or a team is producing terrific results. Here are some of the reasons why:

Natural gas generates much more heat than electricity yielding delectable stir fry and perfectly seared meats. Have you ever seen the wok burners in your favorite Asian restaurant? They are remarkable, producing a jet-like flame for fast cooking that yields hot but still crispy vegetables.

Do you want the ability to control your cooking temperature? The precision of cooking with natural gas is unparalleled. The heat can be turned up or down continuously and being able to see the flame and judge how much heat is needed is critical to producing delicate dishes and sauces.

Cooking with gas is safe. Government agencies charged with ensuring public health (e.g. Federal Interagency Committee on Indoor Air Quality; Consumer Products Safety Commission)  haven’t found any health concerns whether cooking with gas or electricity. Of course, all cooking appliances should be properly vented, if possible, regardless of the type of heat used.

A few recent articles, including an opinion piece in The Atlantic, get it all wrong when it comes to cooking with natural gas (click here for technical analysis of The Atlantic article by the American Gas Association). The fact is, natural gas remains a safe, affordable, preferred, and increasingly renewable energy choice for consumers. So let’s get cooking with gas!

Natural Gas’s Reliability Can’t Be Beat

It has turned out to be a hot summer on the West Coast. In California, we’ve seen 3 million people lose power with rolling blackouts because the state didn’t have enough reliable energy available to fill the void when renewable energy production there fell off a cliff.

My heart goes out to those caught up in the blackouts. It’s a reminder to those of us in the Northwest, that we need to maintain a diverse energy system that uses all sources of energy for optimum reliability.

Natural gas is a critical part of that system. It is the cleanest fossil fuel and provides reliable and affordable energy whenever it’s needed. It is uniquely capable of generating electricity to power your air conditioner when the wind isn’t blowing, or the sun isn’t shining. And if the power is out, natural gas can be used to cook or heat water for your shower or laundry.

Not only does natural gas contribute to a clean energy future by supporting intermittent renewable resources like wind and solar energy, but it is becoming increasingly renewable itself.

Renewable natural gas (RNG) is methane produced when materials like wood, food, and other organic waste decompose. Instead of being released directly into the atmosphere the gas is captured and converted into a clean energy source. RNG is being advanced through partnerships with foresters, farmers, and local governments and Northwest utilities are bringing more of it into their energy mix.

For reliability and renewability, natural gas and renewable natural gas are sources of energy that are vital to the future and enjoy broad support. According to a recent poll, more than 70% of Pacific Northwesterners don’t want natural gas to be banned. They understand the need for reliable, affordable energy to address climate change.

We have to work together to achieve a sustainable energy future. Natural gas and renewable natural gas aren’t the only answer, but they are an essential part of the picture. It’s up to all of us to keep the momentum going so that no one has to endure blackouts tomorrow.

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.

Welcome Northwest Alliance for Clean Transportation

The NW Alliance for Clean Transportation became official with its launch on Tuesday, April 17. The Alliance, which is supported by the Northwest Gas Association, is an advocacy group that aims to bring more awareness to the role that natural gas vehicles have in a clean energy future.

The transportation sector accounts for nearly half of the emissions in the Pacific Northwest. Of those emissions, an outsized share goes to medium and heavy-duty on-road trucking. These emissions are responsible for a myriad of health impacts including an increase in asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Fortunately, there is good news: natural gas vehicles are a ready-made solution that is capable of nearly eliminating these air pollutants, can provide the power necessary to haul heavy loads long distances, is cost-effective and is a proven technology.

Additionally, replacing dirty diesel engines with clean burning ultra-low-NOx natural gas vehicles provides a greater demand and market for renewable natural gas. Renewable natural gas, or RNG, is gas that has been recovered from a source that is otherwise considered a waste stream. This includes garbage landfills, wastewater treatment facilities, dairies, or other methane emitting sources. Collecting the methane emissions from these sources and repurposing it as a transportation fuel is by far the most environmentally friendly option for transportation, and renewable natural gas is perfectly compatible with current natural gas engines.

Please visit www.nwalliance.net to learn more about the new organization and get involved.

Keeping warm and safe in the Pacific Northwest

Last year at this time, the Pacific Northwest was experiencing its coldest winter in 24 years; this year the East coast is experiencing the cold “bomb cyclone.” Luckily, we can observe from our warm, safe homes. Safety is the top priority of your natural gas company, and like the tango, it takes a partner to be safe. You are our safety partner.

As your partner, we want to give you the facts on carbon monoxide (CO) and prepare you should you ever experience a CO incident. Fact: CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is produced by burning wood, propane, charcoal, natural gas or by letting a gasoline engine or generator run in an enclosed space.

Fact: CO poisoning is caused by improperly ventilated appliances or engines. The enclosed space may allow carbon monoxide to accumulate to dangerous levels. That’s why you should never operate a gas or briquette grill, a generator or propane heater indoors.

Fact: Warning signs are similar to having the flu, such as dull headaches, weakness, dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. A clue would be if more than one person is becoming ill at the same time since the flu takes a few days to be passed from one to another. If symptoms begin in one space and go away soon after leaving the area, that may be carbon monoxide poisoning.

Prevention: Install a carbon monoxide detector according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep vents and chimneys open when burning, and make sure they are properly vented, especially if you have had any construction or roofing done. Start your car only after you open the garage door and move into the driveway before closing the door.

Prevention: Just like with your fire alarm, you need to make sure things are maintained and ready to serve you. Once a year, maybe when you replace the batteries in the fire alarm, ask your utility about getting a check-up on all your fuel-burning appliances. Keep your fireplace in good repair and get the flue cleaned once a year.

Action: If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, remove everyone including pets from the area and head to fresh air immediately. Contact your gas utility, call 911 and wait for clearance before entering your home.

GUEST BLOG: Coming Solar Eclipse Further Proves that Renewables Need Natural Gas

Anti-fossil fuel activists like 350.org’s Bill McKibben often pretend the United States can run on 100 percent renewable energy without the use of any traditional fuel sources. McKibben recently wrote in Rolling Stone that “the sundown problem is being solved fast, as batteries are able to store the energy from the morning sun and the wind from a gusty evening to keep the power running overnight.”

McKibben’s claims simply aren’t true though, and preparations for next week’s total solar eclipse illustrate this cold, hard fact.

Because storage technology to allow for solar power to stand alone — even during a brief loss of sunlight — doesn’t currently exist, the solar industry has been actively preparing for how to mitigate the issue in places like sunny California where that industry thrives. The solution? Natural gas.

The Power of Natural Gas in the War on Carbon Emissions

The world will benefit from reduced carbon emissions as developing and industrial countries reduce their dependence on coal and oil by gaining access to ample North American natural-gas supplies.

Natural gas has been a boon for our pocket books, the environment and our way of life. Unfortunately, it gets a bad rap from Vlad Gutman-Britten (No Washington state subsidies for fossil-fuel plants, July 16, 2017). Let’s set the record straight.

Innovative practices and technology enhancements have unlocked vast reserves of North American natural gas and oil that were previously inaccessible. Scarce and costly just ten years ago, natural gas is now abundant and inexpensive.

Benefits of Direct Use of Natural Gas

For many years, energy agencies have alerted Americans to the importance of energy efficiency. A variety of tags and certifications, backed by financial incentives, encourage us to understand our equipment buying options. We know that it makes sense to spend a little more on a product so that we can save money and energy throughout its useful life.

These efforts continue to reduce per capita energy use for both natural gas and electric customers. And the more energy we save, the lower our impact on the environment.