Inslee signs bill to promote RNG in state of Washington

By Erin Voegele | March 23, 2018

On March 22, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law that is designed to increase the development and use of renewable natural gas (RNG) within the state.

The legislation, H.B. 2580, was introduced Jan. 10. It passed the state senate by a vote of 47 to one on March 7, and was unanimously approved in the house the following day.

The Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas and supportive stakeholders were able to overcome challenges and garner approval for the bill in the final days of a shortened 2018 executive session. Proponents of the bill also include the Northwest Gas Association and regional renewable energy companies Promus Energy and Regenis.

 “This bill will help in our fight against climate change by reducing highly-polluting methane emissions and displacing fossil fuels with low-carbon, renewable sources of biogas,” Inslee said. “As we transition to a clean-energy future, this will help us promote production of renewable natural gas from landfills, wastewater treatment plants, food processing, and agriculture, while also helping create jobs and promote rural economic development across our state.”

According to the Coalition on Renewable Natural Gas, the bill reinstates and expands incentives that aim to stimulate investment in biogas capture and conditioning, compression, nutrient recovery, and the use of RNG for heating, electricity generation and transportation fuel.

The bill also requires the Washington State University Extension Energy Program, the Department of Commerce and the Utilities and Transportation Commission to work together to develop recommendations on how to promote the sustainable development of RNG. The recommendations must be submitted to the governor and the energy committees of the state legislature by Sept. 1.

In addition, the legislation requires the Department of commerce, in consultation with natural gas utilities and other state agencies, to explore the development of voluntary gas quality standards for the injection of RNG into the state’s natural gas pipeline system.

“By supporting renewable natural gas project development, Washington’s leaders are supporting the creation of clean energy sector jobs, improved air quality and public health,” said Johannes Escudero, CEO of the RNG Coalition. “Methane mitigation, carbon sequestration and decarbonization of our existing natural gas infrastructure occur with each new RNG project.”

"What could be better than turning waste into useful energy?" asked Dan Kirschner, executive director of the NWGA. "It reminds me of the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor in the movie Back to the Future," he continued. "Thanks to the foresight of Governor Inslee and the Legislature, the future is now as we incorporate this innovative and renewable resource into Washington's energy portfolio.”