SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — It might not be the hike most people would take. But turns out, climbing a giant pile of cow manure can offer a stunning view of California’s energy future.
“So in 2022, we interconnected our first four projects for renewable natural gas. So that was a huge milestone for us,” said Christine Cowsert, senior vice president for Gas Engineering at PG&E.
The utility now has millions of cubic feet of renewable natural gas flowing through its pipelines, created from methane captured from manure at dairies in the Central Valley.
And Cowsert says the network is growing fast.
“We’re leveraging any opportunity we can find to bring additional renewable natural gas onto our system,” she said.
The methane is processed by partner companies like Aemetis, which operates a high-tech facility near Modesto and has also laid miles of pipeline.
“And that gas is then being cleaned up and transmitted into PG&E’s pipeline, which runs throughout the state of California, and ultimately is going to be used as transportation fuel to replace carbon based or fossil fuel diesel,” said Aemetis President Andy Foster.
This refers mainly to big rig diesel trucking, which creates a significant amount of vehicle pollution.