TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee cleared a bill Monday that encourages public utilities to procure renewable natural gas in an effort to meet clean energy goals more economically.
The bill (A5655), sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, aims to include natural gas in the state’s renewable energy portfolio.
“Natural gas is reliable and affordable. Making renewable natural gas a part of the state’s clean energy plan is smart, sustainable and cost effective,” Munoz (R-Union) said.
Under the bill, the Board of Public Utilities would create a program to encourage gas utility companies to invest in renewable natural gas.
Renewable natural gas is derived from landfills, wastewater treatment facilities and agricultural activities and can be used to power vehicles or heat homes. It replaces fossil fuels and reduces methane emissions, which are 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Switching from natural gas to electric would be very costly for consumers who would need to buy all new appliances. Additionally, electric grid failures have been responsible for major power outages in states like Texas and California,” Munoz added. “Renewable natural gas makes use of existing infrastructure and appliances, and gives us an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while considering both people’s pocketbooks and the planet.”
The bill now goes to the speaker for further consideration.