Truckee, CA /PRNewswire/ - Southwest Gas Corporation (Southwest Gas or Company), as part of our commitment to meet our customers' goals for sustainable energy and achieve economy-wide carbon reduction targets, is translating purpose into action with its proposed hydrogen-blending demonstration project (Project) filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on September 8, 2022. The Project was submitted as part of a Joint Application with Southern California Gas Company and San Diego Gas and Electric Company, that also filed proposed hydrogen projects within their respective service territories. Southwest Gas' Project proposal, if approved, will produce vital information toward implementing meaningful, practical and sustainable energy solutions with measurable impact toward the Truckee Town Council's goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2040 and further contributes to Southwest Gas' larger efforts and integral role in supporting economy-wide climate and environmental goals.
The Company's Project aims to establish critical knowledge complementary to the other joint utility Applicants' demonstration projects while uniquely targeting hydrogen-blending scenarios in extreme cold weather and high-elevation conditions, such as those experienced in the Truckee area. Hydrogen, an efficient energy carrier like natural gas, can be blended with traditional natural gas or renewable natural gas (RNG). Yet knowledge gaps exist surrounding the optimal percentages of hydrogen blends in extreme climates – Southwest Gas' Project will help to close these knowledge gaps to ensure safety, system integrity and reliability. Moreover, the Company has committed to employing new sustainable technologies to assist the Town of Truckee in achieving their environmental sustainability priorities.
Given the extreme weather spectrum across California, the Town of Truckee presents a unique opportunity to determine optimal hydrogen-blend percentages in extremely cold areas. The mountain community in the northern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range sits at an elevation of 5,817 feet and experiences average low temperatures below freezing eight months out of the year. These climates necessitate higher heating demands and make use of different end-use appliances such as generators, radiant heaters, furnaces and boilers.
Over an 18-month period, the Project will test a blend of 5% to 20% hydrogen with natural gas, flowing through plastic and steel pipelines. The hydrogen used in this test is created through the process called electrolysis which separates hydrogen from oxygen in water – a low- to no-carbon generating process that releases oxygen beneficially into our atmosphere and stores hydrogen for use, further reducing GHG emissions. This Project aims to provide critical data that will help the creation of the nation's first hydrogen-injection standard for natural gas operators.
"Southwest Gas is committed to offering sustainable solutions for our customers to meet or exceed their expectations. This project is an example of this commitment to partner with our communities on projects that enhance the quality of life in our service territories and provide sustainable energy solutions. Integral to the success of meeting economy-wide net-zero goals are revolutionary technologies and services that will unleash innovation and enhance global energy reliability. Hydrogen and RNG are powerful solutions for our energy future that are helping to transform how we fuel our lives, homes and businesses while honoring our commitment to environmental stewardship and emissions reductions for long-term change," said Dr. Laura S. Nelson, vice president of sustainability and public policy.
This Project proposal is just one of several of the Company's hydrogen pilot programs supporting environmental efforts as part of larger sustainability initiatives, which include hydrogen blending and/or electrolysis projects with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV); Arizona State University (ASU); and Gas Technology Institute (GTI). These initiatives are embracing innovation and supporting sustainability and climate and environmental goals throughout our service territories and communities.
Southwest Gas Corporation is a dynamic energy company proudly delivering safe, reliable and affordable natural gas to over two million customers throughout Arizona, California and Nevada and is committed to exceeding our customers' expectations while innovating sustainable energy solutions for tomorrow. For more information about how Southwest Gas is supporting a sustainable energy future, please visit www.swgas.com/sustainability.