Minutes from November 18, 2014 Open Meeting-Natural Gas Pathways

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Open Board of Directors Meeting

San Bernardino Community College District

114 S. Del Rosa Drive

San Bernardino, CA   92408


Present:Dimitrios Alexiou,Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Ann Bryan, Ken Coate, Bill Easley, Allison Ellingson, Lowell King, Pam Langford, Temetry Lindsey, John Mirau, John Prentice, Brian Reider, Frank Schnetz, Kristine Scott, Larry Sharp, Paul Shimoff, Steve von Rajcs, Phil Waller and Janet Weder. 


Guests:  Vicky Ostermann, Corinne Tapia and Todd Warden.


Announcements:  1) There will be a ground breaking ceremony for the future home of Loma Linda University Health-San Bernardino at noon on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 250 South G Street, San Bernardino.  Rsvp by December 3, 2014 to 909-558-5362 or gdallen@llu.edu  2) The League of California Cities Inland Empire Division Dinner Meeting and 12th Annual James S. Thalman Public Service Award will be held on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 5:00p.m.  Rsvp by November 18, 2014 to Donna Kendrena 909-477-2700.  3) A holiday party will be held at the home of Carole Beswick on Thursday, December 18, 2014.  Invitations will follow.  4) Bank of America and the San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools have been proposed for membership.  This is the first announcement of their proposed membership. 5) Labor negotiations at the ports are ongoing but slow & difficult.  Inland Action has sent letters supporting continued negotiations to the legislative caucus.  6) Inland Action sent a letter of support to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs  for the nomination of Therese McMillan to the position of Federal Transit Administrator.


M/S/P:  Minutes from November 4, 2014.


Dr. Temetry Lindsey introduced George Minter, Senior Director of Policy & Environment, Southern California Gas Company.


George Minter discussed that air quality is currently a bigger problem in Southern California than climate change.  


California has been a leader in energy policy, adopting the most aggressive emissions control measures in the nation.  Much progress has been made but Southern California still has the worst air quality in the nation. 

California regulators are driven by 2 important environmental policies:

  • Federal Clean Air Act focuses on reducing air pollution—emissions such as NOx and particulate matters—that create smog. A reduction of 75-90% in combustion emissions over the next 20 years is required. [20 years from 2010]
  • California’s Climate Change Initiatives (AB32 and the Governor’s Executive Order S-3-05), requiring the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—emissions such as CO2- by more than 80% by 2050.

    The heavy commercial transportation sector is California’s biggest emissions challenge and opportunity as more than 80% of the region’s NOx emissions is created by this sector.  Additionally this sector contributes more than 40% of the region’s GHG emissions (the emissions that lead to climate change).  We need to think across consumer and commercial applications and reduce emissions without crippling commerce and our economy.


    Independent researchers, the region’s Air Quality Management Districts and CARB have run the numbers and the outlook under the current plan which focuses heavily on electric vehicles and fuel cells will not meet the environmental targets set.


    All resources at our disposal need to be utilized and include renewables, electricity and natural gas.  Using natural gas in the long term energy mix gives us a clean and affordable way to cut smog and reduce GHG emissions.

    Natural gas is cleaner than traditional diesel and gasoline:

  • It has 20% fewer GHG emissions than diesel
  • And 30% fewer GHG emissions than gasoline

    Using engine technology that exists today, California could cut vehicle NOx and particulate emissions by 20% immediately—just by switching from traditional petroleum to natural gas vehicles.  In less than 5 years, we will have new “near zero” natural gas engines that would reduce NOx emissions by 90% of today’s standards. The opportunity for California is so significant that SoCalGas has formed a special team to map out a strategy for the Heavy Duty Transportation sector.

    A major obstacle of renewable energy is storage. New “power-to-gas” technologies are being developed and will be commercially viable in 10 to 15 years.  “Power-to-gas” will convert excess renewable electricity into renewable gas that’s stored in our gas pipelines—providing a low carbon gas supply, deliverable for any energy use when you need it.


    A longer-term opportunity is renewable biogas or biomethane.  Electricity is generated from different sources (coal, nuclear power or renewable).  Its environmental impact depends on its source.  Natural gas is similar as it is essentially methane.  Methane comes from the decomposition of organic matter—which means, there are other ways to generate natural gas than extracting it from the ground. Organic waste from landfills, wastewater treatment, dairies and farms can be used to create “renewable natural gas” and make natural gas even cleaner.

  • Studies say organic waste alone could supply 15% to 20% of our current natural gas demand if converted to methane.
  • And, with purpose-grown crops, studies say we can produce an additional 20% of our gas from this renewable source.

    That means up to 40% of our natural gas supply could come from renewable resources.


    Southern California Gas energy efficiency programs have helped customers save more than 505 million therms over the last 22 years—that’s equal to taking more than 526,000 cars off the road.  They can also be credited for helping California’s natural gas sector meet the 2020 GHG reduction goals more than 5 years ahead of schedule.


    A Q & A period followed.


    Meeting adjourned at 8:34a.m.