NEWS: Energy and environmental policy
E3 Undertakes Analysis of Targeted Decommissioning of Natural Gas Infrastructure in California

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August 26, 2022

An E3-led project team was awarded a research grant from the California Energy Commission to explore targeted building electrification and gas system decommissioning. The project team includes E3, East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) and Gridworks. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is supporting the team with gas system data and gas engineering expertise.

To support the state of California’s goal to decarbonize buildings in an equitable manner, this project is evaluating targeted building electrification and gas system decommissioning as a potential approach. Widespread building electrification will be crucial for achieving California’s climate goals, though it will significantly challenge the funding and cost recovery mechanisms for California’s gas distribution system. If customers depart the gas system in large numbers, remaining customers could face significant increases in their gas rates to pay for the largely fixed costs of maintaining the gas system. Without mitigating policies, these impacts would be disproportionately borne by low-income homeowners and renters. A planned transition of the gas system, supported by multiple cost mitigation strategies, will be needed to manage long-term customer cost impacts.

This project aims to explore how targeted building electrification combined with gas system decommissioning may help to provide net gas system cost savings, and potentially, financial support for building electrification. The project team will develop a framework to identify candidate sites for targeted electrification and gas decommissioning, identify three pilot sites within EBCE’s service territory, engage local communities in sharing their perspectives and priorities, and produce deployment plans for the three pilot sites. Although this research grant does not include funding to implement the pilots, the project team anticipates that one or more pilots may be funded by the Energy Commission in a subsequent phase.

Another key goal of this project is to solicit input and communicate with stakeholders and policymakers regarding project approach, findings, lessons learned, and recommendations. To this end, Gridworks has been compiling a series of blog posts with updates on the project and its progress.

The first post provides an overview of the project and some key context, here: Tactical Gas Decommissioning Project Overview

The second post described a proposed framework for selecting pilot site locations, here: Selecting Gas Decommissioning Pilot Locations

The third post described initial results from applying the site selection framework, here: Identifying Gas Decommissioning Pilot Sites

Additional posts will be shared here once published.

Proposed Gas Decommissioning Site Selection Framework

filed under: Energy and environmental policy