Oregon's largest gas utility, NW Natural, has aggressively pushed back on any efforts to bind it to emissions reductions. Voluntary goals are sufficient, it says.
Momentum has increased for bans on natural gas hookups in new residential and commercial buildings.

This is obviously something NW Natural fears, so it is aggressively promoting 'renewable natural gas' (RNG) as a reason why it should be trusted to decarbonize
But RNG - methane from landfills and farms - isn't really a thing, at least not in any substantial way. The most optimistic scenarios for future supply say *maybe* RNG, one day, could meet 1/5 of Oregon's gas needs.
But even that forecast is wildly optimistic, dependent on tech that isn't competitive today.

It's also insanely expensive, with industry studies pegging it at $7-$45/MMBtu, with a good chunk of the supply curve above $15
Suffice it to say, RNG is not a real climate solution in any big way. A "niche" solution, maybe, for hard-to-decarbonize sectors.
But that's not what NW Natural is telling everyone in Oregon. It is heavily advertising, misleading people into thinking RNG is a key solution. Its ads leave the impression that the gas you use today to heat your house or cook with is "renewable."

It's not, and it won't be.
All the while NW Natural is expanding its regular ol' fossil gas sales.
“At Northwest Natural, we continue to see good customer growth. New construction plus conversions translated in connecting over 13,000 meters during the last 12 months" NW Natural CEO told investors on an earnings call in February.

Not exactly decarbonizing!
What's the strategy? Use RNG and other greenwashing to head off restrictions on gas infrastructure.

Electric utilities can pivot from coal or gas-fired power plants to renewables. That's already happening

But gas-only utilities don't have an easy way to transition.
“They've got one move to make and thats somehow to get RNG into homes, call themselves a renewables company, get ratepayers to pay for that, lock in as much as possible and then just delay anybody regulating them and ride off of the free rents" @Ecosozialismus
Ultimately, gas utilities are facing an existential threat - gas needs to be phased out. Electrification is doable.
So they are using RNG as a misdirection in an effort to ensure gas infrastructure continues to be profitable. If the public and regulators think gas utilities are decarbonizing, they may not impose restrictions on gas infrastructure
Using RNG as a tactic to greenwash and prevent regulation may be copied by the gas industry elsewhere. "We’re going to start seeing the Pacific Northwest strategy employed across the country" - @maijewind
RNG isn't a thing, and gas utilities have no intention of winding down their fossil gas business. In fact, they are aggressively expanding fossil gas sales
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