CenterPoint Energy files proposal for renewable natural gas program in Minnesota

Published on August 27, 2018 by Kevin Randolph

© Shutterstock

CenterPoint Energy recently filed a proposal with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) for a renewable natural gas (RNG) green tariff pilot program for its Minnesota customers.

The proposed program would give customers the option to purchase RNG through their monthly bill. RNG is produced by cleaning and refining methane from landfills, agriculture, and wastewater. It is chemically almost identical to conventional natural gas and can be injected directly into natural gas pipelines.

“In many cases, the methane emitted from these waste sources is not put to any useful purpose,” Nick Mark, manager of Conservation and Renewable Energy Policy for CenterPoint Energy, said. “The methane is either released directly into the atmosphere or burned in flares and converted to CO2 —in either case increasing greenhouse gas pollutants in the atmosphere. When it is collected, processed and used as a fuel, it can reduce waste and meet customers’ energy needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Customers who enroll in the voluntary program will choose how much they wish to spend on RNG, with a minimum of $1 per month.

The finalized per-therm cost will be determined after MPUC approval, but CenterPoint Energy estimates that it will be approximately $3.89. In the future, CenterPoint Energy expects to adjust the per-therm program price annually according to market supply and customer demand. These adjustments will not affect the amount customers pay, as they will pay only the amount they designated upon enrolling.

If the MPUC approves the proposal, customers would be able to enroll in the program as early as spring 2019. The initial pilot program would last for five years, after which time CenterPoint Energy could request to continue, modify or discontinue the program.

“We’ve heard from our customers that they want to have options for how they get their energy and that many of them are interested in using more renewable energy,” Mark said. “I’m excited to roll out this innovative program for Minnesota customers interested in supporting renewable forms of energy.”