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MPSC submits renewable natural gas report to Legislature
September 28, 2022
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The Michigan Public Service Commission today submitted to the state Legislature a report outlining the potential of renewable natural gas (RNG) in Michigan and the barriers to developing and using RNG in Michigan.
The MPSC was directed to conduct the study under Public Act 87 of 2021, approved by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in September 2021. The Michigan Renewable Natural Gas Study is posted on the MPSC’s website.
As required under Public Act 87, the report:
- Identifies existing and potential RNG sources in Michigan and estimates the energy content and greenhouse gas abatement potential of these sources.
- Estimates the cost per unit of heat and the potential greenhouse gas emission reduction per unit of heat should potential RNG sources be used to the greatest practical extent.
- Compares the estimated per-unit cost savings of greenhouse gas emission reductions estimated for RNG sources to the estimated likely per-unit cost savings from the use of other carbon abatement technologies, including hydrogen blending, building electrification, and similar technologies.
- Estimates the RNG production potential by applicable feedstock sources in Michigan.
- Identifies barriers to developing and utilizing RNG in Michigan.
Renewable natural gas is pipeline-quality biogas — derived from the breakdown of organic matter from landfills, wastewater treatment plants, farm animal waste, crop residues or food waste — that is interchangeable with conventional natural gas used to heat Michiganders’ homes. The study concludes that capturing RNG from existing waste streams can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, particularly if it is derived from sources that create methane emissions released into the atmosphere.
Public Act 87 provided funding for the RNG study. The MPSC issued a competitive request for proposals for the study and hired the consulting firm ICF to conduct it. The MPSC launched the study in December 2021 in Case No. U-21170, creating a Renewable Natural Gas Study Workgroup and holding meetings with stakeholders to help guide the direction of the report. In June, the MPSC sought additional comments after a draft report was issued. Additional information about the study can be found at the workgroup’s webpage.
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