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Alternative Gas (Biogas) Standards for North Carolina

Piedmont Natural Gas Company filed a petition with the N.C. Utilities Commission on December 6, 2016, requesting approval of proposed terms and conditions for which Piedmont will accept alternative gas onto its system. Alternative gas may include supplies from sources such as landfills, swine waste-to-energy facilities, and poultry waste-to-energy facilities. Several parties petitioned to intervene, including the N.C. Pork Council, the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, Enerdyne Power Systems, Inc., the Renewable Natural Gas Coalition, and Duke University. On May 4, 2017, after receiving comments from the intervening parties, the Commission ordered the Public Staff to facilitate a stakeholders meeting to address the issues raised and to develop alternative gas standards and testing requirements for Piedmont.  The full docket can be viewed here.

The main issues raised include: (1) what is an appropriate heating value for the alternative gas that would be attainable and safe, but not prohibitive; (2) who should pay for the installation of equipment to accept the alternative gas; and (3) how best to regulate the constituents contained in alternative gas that vary from natural gas to obtain non-corrosive and safe gas for the end-user. Some stakeholders argued that the standards issued in California are too burdensome as no renewable biogas projects have been completed since their adoption, and should not be used as a guideline for North Carolina. Most parties agree that North Carolina has a large potential for alternative gas supplies.

The first stakeholders meeting convened on June 2.  All the parties present expressed a desire to reach terms that would foster and not prohibit the development of alternative gas as an industry for North Carolina. The next meeting is scheduled for July. The Commission set a deadline of six months for this process, but the parties agreed they would like to complete it sooner, if possible.

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