E3 Releases Study on Decarbonizing Pipeline Gas

Energy and Environmental Economics (E3) released a study on Decarbonizing Pipeline Gas to Help Meet California’s 2050 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goal.  The study found the costs of decarbonized gas and electrification to be similar, but the flexibility and operational benefits of decarbonized gas to be beneficial, particularly in some sectors.

The study’s main conclusions are:

  • Decarbonized pipeline gas can help to reduce emissions in sectors that are otherwise difficult to electrify, either for technical or customer-acceptance reasons. These sectors include: (1) certain industrial end uses, such as process heating, (2) heavy duty vehicles (HDVs), and (3) certain residential and commercial end uses, such as cooking, and existing space and water heating.
  • The production of decarbonized gas from electricity could play an important role in integrating variable renewable generation by producing gas when renewables are generating power, and then storing the gas in the pipeline distribution network for when it is needed.
  • A transition to decarbonized pipeline gas would enable continued use of the state’s existing gas pipeline distribution network, eliminating the need for new energy delivery infrastructure to meet 2050 GHG targets, such as dedicated hydrogen pipelines or additional electric transmission and distribution capacity.
  • Pursuit of decarbonized gas technologies would help diversify the technology risk associated with heavy reliance on a limited number of decarbonized energy carriers, and would allow consumers, businesses and policymakers greater flexibility and choice in the transition to a low-carbon energy system.

To learn more, download E3_Decarbonizing_Pipeline_01-27-2015