Oregon regulators have cleared the way for NW Natural and other natural gas utilities in the state to begin purchasing supplies of renewable natural gas (RNG) for customers.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission approved co-mingling RNG and the fossil fuel version in utility operations following the approval of state Senate Bill 98 last year. NW Natural and other stakeholders supported its passage. 

The bill allows up to 5% of utility revenue requirements annually to be used to cover the incremental cost of investments in RNG infrastructure.

NW Natural said it would issue a request for proposals to procure RNG. Management sees RNG as a competitive “zero-carbon resource,” said utility spokesperson Melissa Moore. 

“The gas can be cleaned and added into the existing natural gas system, where it is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas.”

Moore said the RNG market is “fairly new and growing quickly.” 

There are more than 100 supply projects nationwide, with expectations for 50% growth over the next 12 months. “RNG is a main energy source for space heating in Seattle’s SeaTac Airport and in transportation fleets such as UPS and Waste Management.”