Regulatory Pathways for Advancing Low-Carbon Gas Resources – AGF

In an American Gas Foundation (AGF) Study prepared by Concentric Energy Advisors, the consulting group was engaged by the 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.

In the report prepared by the Concentric Energy Advisors, their findings indicated that natural gas infrastructure has consistently provided solutions to meet energy needs and environmental goals, and it has an important and enduring role to play in addressing the challenges of climate change.

Of the major points discussed in the paper, it is found that growing the supply and demand of low-carbon gas resources through natural gas infrastructure creates many benefits for communities. Gas utilities also bring unique abilities and expertise related to financing and constructing new infrastructure, operational safety and efficiency, convening stakeholders and interacting with customers. Policies to expand low-carbon gas resources may be more successful by utilizing these gas utility advantages. Natural gas infrastructure has been instrumental in reducing emissions in the transportation sector by using its pipeline and storage assets to deliver RNG to the market.

Other key findings highlighted in the report include:

  • Decarbonization policies do not have to be limited to just advancing renewable electricity.
  • Legislative support and clear regulatory authorities are needed to expand the supply and demand
    of low-carbon gas resources at scale using gas utility systems.
  • Gas utilities must educate stakeholders, including legislators, regulators and the public, on the
    environmental, safety and economic benefits of LCR.
  • The merits of LCR should be based on regulatory mechanisms that look beyond the cost of natural
    gas, assessing how effective they are in achieving environmental objectives compared to other
    options that could be deployed.
  • Policies to advance LCR must consider their resource potential at both a regional and national
    level, as well as the connectedness of the gas delivery system.
  • Regulatory requirements, public policy objectives and resource availability require different
    approaches in different jurisdictions.

Gas utilities have consistently provided solutions for meeting energy needs and environmental goals, and they have an important, enduring role to play. The study reviews policies that have enabled utilities to evolve to meet changing societal goals and lessons learned in other regulated jurisdictions and industries. To read the American Gas Foundation Study prepared by Concentric Energy Advisors in full, click here.