CenterPoint wants to give renewable natural gas to Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — An energy utility wants to become one of the first U.S. companies to turn methane sources such as manure into a renewable form of natural gas for customers in Minnesota.
CenterPoint Energy submitted plans Thursday for a pilot program to sell renewable natural gas to Minnesota residents. The company could begin selling the gas next spring if the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approves the plan, Minnesota Public Radio reported .
Renewable natural gas is created by gathering methane from sources like decomposed landfill trash, manure or decomposing crops. The methane is then processed and refined into a form that’s chemically identical to traditional natural gas. Most methane tends to be released into the air directly or burnt off, putting greenhouse gases into the air either way.
Renewable natural gas would be more expensive than traditional natural gas, at about $3.89 per therm compared to about 62 cents per therm. CenterPoint said that customers would decide how much to spend on the renewable natural gas each month should the plan move forward.
Switching to renewable natural gas decreases greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent, according to CenterPoint.
“We’ve heard from our customers that they want to have options for how they get their energy and that many of them are interested in using more renewable energy,” said Nick Mark, CenterPoint’s manager of conservation and renewable energy policy. “I’m excited to roll out this innovative program for Minnesota customers interested in supporting renewable forms of energy.”
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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

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