Regulatory Pathways for Advancing Low-Carbon Gas Resources

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Concentric was engaged by the American Gas Foundation (“AGF”) to assess enabling policies that could be used to establish regulatory frameworks for incentivizing the production and use of low-carbon gas resources at scale to achieve environmental, waste management, economic development, and other objectives. The study also examines the impact of such policies on the gas utility business model and on the gas utilities’ ability to assist in achieving public policy objectives.

Expanding the production and use of low-carbon gas resources could include developing and transmitting renewable natural gas, blending hydrogen with existing natural gas supplies, or building dedicated hydrogen gas systems. Each of these potential approaches have varying technical/regulatory challenges, timelines, costs and impacts on greenhouse gasemissions. Scaling the integration of low-carbon gas resources in a safe, efficient, and effective manner will require technological innovation as well as opportunities to market such products to end-users. Expanding the adoption of low-carbon resources will require addressing concerns over resource potential and scaling, validating the environmental benefits, and moderating the costs. Where gas utilities adopt operational plans to advance low-carbon fuels and technologies, they must continue to manage consumer affordability as well as safety and reliability objectives.

This report was prepared for the American Gas Foundation, with the assistance Concentric Energy Advisors, to be a source of independent analysis. Neither the American Gas Foundation, Concentric Energy Advisors, nor any person acting on their behalf:

  • Makes any warranty or representation, express or implied, with respect to the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information contained in this report, or that the use of any information, apparatus, method, or process disclosed in this report may not infringe privately owned rights,
  • Assumes any liability, with respect to the use of, damages resulting from the use of, any information, method, or process disclosed in this report,
  • Recommends or endorses any of the conclusions, methods or processes analyzed herein.

This nonpartisan study is based on independent analysis and research and is not intended to advocate a particular view on any specific legislation or encourage readers to act with respect to specific legislation. Concentric interviewed a relatively small set of North American utility regulators representing a wide spectrum of perspectives on the challenges associated with advancing low-carbon gas resources at scale in the gas distribution system. The regulatory views expressed by interviewees do not necessarily represent the views of all regulators in the U.S. nor are they universally applicable to all gas utilities across the country. Conclusions reached in this report are the product of objective research and interviews and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Concentric Energy Advisors, Inc. nor its affiliates, subsidiaries, and related companies.

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