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Renewable Natural Gas Sees Strong Support in the Northwest - 01/18/22

Renewable Natural Gas Sees Strong Support in the Northwest

New polling shows that Northwest voters want a decarbonized pipeline – not gas bans – for our clean energy future

 

PORTLAND, Ore. — The rise in demand for renewable energy continues. A new survey conducted for NW Natural by DHM Research, an independent, leading opinion research firm, shows that 77% of Oregon and Southwest Washington voters overwhelmingly want access to all forms of renewable energy – hydro, wind, solar and renewable natural gas – for a balanced, low-carbon future. 

Renewable natural gas is rapidly expanding. In the first year of procuring renewable energy for its customers, NW Natural now has signed agreements with options to purchase or develop renewable natural gas totaling 3% of NW Natural’s annual sales volume in Oregon. For context, the U.S. is at about 11% for wind and solar generation.[1]

Amidst a small list of local governments discussing forcing electrification of new homes and businesses, the new survey from DHM shows that Oregon and Southwest Washington voters are demanding a different path.

  • 78% of voters value the natural gas system for its critical role in lowering emissions with both affordability and reliability as top priorities. 
  • 78% of voters support local government’s efforts to encourage the use of renewable natural gas. Only 12% said natural gas should be banned.
  • 73% of voters agree that families and businesses should have a choice of energy options to meet their needs and not have those choices limited or mandated by their local government. 

“NW Natural has been leading the way in our efforts to begin displacing conventional natural gas with renewables, and this new survey from DHM shows our communities strongly support this approach. Voters want decarbonization of the energy system through a comprehensive, diversified set of renewable energy options,” said Kim Heiting, senior vice president of operations at NW Natural. “Even in places with particularly ambitious climate goals, like Eugene, the survey shows the vast majority of voters oppose bans of new natural gas hookups. And over the course of the past two years, DHM’s polling shows that the more Eugene voters hear about gas bans, the more they oppose the idea.”

Across NW Natural’s service territory, DHM found that 70% of voters oppose a ban on new natural gas hookups in all homes and buildings. Only 21% support a ban. 

“There’s a misconception by some that electrification equates to decarbonization, which is not true. In fact, the number one user of natural gas in the U.S. today is electric utilities using it for power generation[1],” said Heiting. “A diverse energy system – with renewable electrons delivered over wires and renewable molecules delivered underground – gives our communities a more effective hedge against potential risks posed by more extreme weather, and a more cost-effective way to reduce emissions.” 

The survey showed that resiliency is a top energy concern in the region. An overwhelming majority (81%) of voters agree that communities with both natural gas and electricity are needed for energy reliability in case of heat waves, wildfires, and winter storms. 

DHM Research conducted its survey from November 6-14, 2021, with voters in NW Natural’s service territory, which includes the Willamette Valley, most of coastal Oregon, Clark County, Wash., and the Columbia Gorge. The service territory results are scientifically valid and have a margin of error of +/- 2.1%. 

At a glance

  • 8 in 10 recent and prospective homebuyers prefer natural gas over electricity for heating and cooking and feel it is an important feature when looking for their “ideal” single-family home.[2]
  • Of all the energy emissions in Oregon, only 6% come from NW Natural customers' residential and commercial use. On the other hand, electric generation accounts for about 29% of the state’s emissions.[3]
  • NW Natural has analyzed scenarios to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 for the energy services we provide. Learn more about the renewables and new technologies we're pursuing at nwnatural.com/destinationzero.

 

About NW Natural

NW Natural is a local distribution company that currently provides natural gas service to approximately 2.5 million people in more than 140 communities through more than 780,000 meters in Oregon and Southwest Washington with one of the most modern pipeline systems in the nation. NW Natural consistently leads the industry with high J.D. Power & Associates customer satisfaction scores. NW Natural, a part of Northwest Natural Holding Company, (NYSE: NWN) (NW Natural Holdings), is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and has been doing business for more than 160 years. NW Holdings owns NW Natural, NW Natural Renewables Holdings (NW Natural Renewables), NW Natural Water Company (NW Natural Water), and other business interests. We have a longstanding commitment to safety, environmental stewardship, and taking care of our employees and communities. Learn more in our latest ESG Report.    

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[1] https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/electricity-in-the-us.php; https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/natural-gas/use-of-natural-gas.php 

[2] https://www.nwnatural.com/get-natural-gas/homebuyer-energy-preference

[3] Oregon Public Utility Commission, 2015 Oregon Utility Statistics Statbook and Oregon DEQ In-Boundary GHG Inventory preliminary 2019 data.

NW Natural Donates $23,000 to Oregon Parks Forever on Behalf of New Smart Energy Customers - 01/07/22

PORTLAND, Ore. — In recognition of customers who signed up for NW Natural’s Smart Energy program in 2021, NW Natural is making a $23,000 donation to Oregon Parks Forever. 

The voluntary carbon offset program enables customers to offset some or all the emissions associated with their natural gas consumption while also helping effectively reduce emissions in the region.

The Smart Energy program, which now has more than 73,000 Oregon and Southwest Washington residential and business customers, has purchased offsets from 17 innovative projects across the Pacific Northwest, California, Utah and Alaska. These include projects like biodigesters on family-owned dairy farms that capture methane from cow manure, keeping this greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere and harnessing it as a renewable energy source.

“We want to thank and recognize our customers committed to helping fight climate change by reducing their environmental impact,” said Brian Harney, Smart Energy program manager. “We’re proud to donate to Oregon Parks Forever on their behalf so, together, we can help preserve and protect these beloved and beautiful outdoor spaces for generations to come.” 

The annual donation to OPF in recognition of Smart Energy customers is also funded in part by NW Natural’s Corporate Philanthropy Fund from shareholders. 

“We couldn’t be more grateful to NW Natural for this year’s donation and their longtime support of our parks,” said Seth Miller, executive director, OPF. “This year’s donation is especially critical as we continue to provide ‘socially distanced’ activities to visitors like hiking and biking while also starting to bring back programs that were suspended due to the pandemic.” 

NW Natural was the first stand-alone gas utility to offer its customers a voluntary carbon offset program. Since the program began in 2007, participating customers have funded emissions’ reductions of over 1.5 million metric tons — equivalent to over 337,000 cars removed from the road for a year. 

With environmental stewardship as one of its core values, NW Natural works with The Climate Trust to ensure that only verified high-quality offsets are purchased and retired for the Smart Energy program. To sign up for Smart Energy, visit nwnatural.com/Smart

About NW Natural

NW Natural is a local distribution company that currently provides natural gas service to approximately 2.5 million people in more than 140 communities through more than 780,000 meters in Oregon and Southwest Washington with one of the most modern pipeline systems in the nation. NW Natural consistently leads the industry with high J.D. Power & Associates customer satisfaction scores. NW Natural, a part of Northwest Natural Holding Company, (NYSE: NWN) (NW Natural Holdings), is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and has been doing business for more than 160 years. NW Holdings owns NW Natural, NW Natural Renewables Holdings (NW Natural Renewables), NW Natural Water Company (NW Natural Water), and other business interests. We have a longstanding commitment to safety, environmental stewardship, and taking care of our employees and communities, learn more in our latest ESG Report.