What is the Potential of Renewable Natural Gas?

Renewable Natural Gas, (RNG) also known as biogas, is gaining momentum as an alternative energy source with the added benefit that it’s production diverts methane emissions from entering the atmosphere from sources such as landfills, waste water treatment plants, and agricultural manure lagoons. In New Jersey, the state’s Renewable Natural Gas Team researched how renewable gas could fit into local energy systems, but also highlights that the infrastructure to produce biogas is not available in NJ. In the report, they suggest that incentives are needed to initiate the RNG market to compete with natural gas. Public utilities such as National Grid and Southern California Gas Company see renewable natural gas as a game-changer, while environmental and government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) are shaping policy discussions around its adoption. The USDOE Alternative Fuels Data Center provides several resources and case studies for successful RNG projects. According to a study released(PDF) by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, the Water Environment Research Foundation, and the Water Environment Federation energy generated at U.S. wastewater treatment plants could potentially meet 12% of the national electricity demand. Across the nation, states are testing the waters with renewable natural gas technology and clean energy organizations are also weighing in, providing valuable perspectives on renewable natural gas potential. As outlined by the Roosevelt Institute, policy questions regarding permitting reform and regulatory frameworks are at the forefront of shaping renewable natural gas futures.