Pipeline Safety & Reliability Project
On June 21, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted to deny SDG&E’s application to replace a nearly 70-year old natural gas pipeline with a new, modern pipeline. The proposed pipeline, the Pipeline Safety & Reliability Project, would have enhanced safety as well as brought additional reliability to our region’s natural gas transmission system.
The Commission’s decision abruptly ends the review process and denies the public a complete analysis of both our proposal and a range of alternatives. Instead, the decision orders us to conduct costly pressure testing of the existing 1949 pipeline and limited replacement activities that will result in significant community impacts.
While we’re disappointed with the Commission’s decision, safety and reliability are SDG&E’s highest priorities. We’re now working with the CPUC safety staff to implement a construction plan that implements pipeline safety requirements as quickly as possible, while minimizing construction impacts to private properties adjacent to the existing pipeline. That is our commitment to our customers and the communities we serve.
The safety and reliability of our natural gas system is critical to our daily lives. More than 880,000 homes, businesses and public facilities in San Diego rely on natural gas for their heating and cooking needs today and will continue to do so for decades to come. For these reasons, we’ll continue to invest in safe and reliable energy infrastructure to meet our customers’ needs.
A plan to pressure-test and/or replace segments of the existing 1949 pipeline – Line 1600 – is under way. The plan will be submitted to the CPUC by the end of September, as directed. Once we have more information, you’ll find those details on our website.
Natural Gas Fuels San Diego
Between 40% to 70% of the natural gas delivered to San Diego is used to produce electricity. We rely on natural gas to keep our lives moving and our lights on, and the pipeline project is an investment into a having a reliable energy supply.
Key industries using natural gas include:
Hospitality and Entertainment
Tourism is San Diego’s third-largest industry, and it relies heavily on natural gas to cook the food served in our region’s 2,500 restaurants and to provide world-class accommodations for our 33 million annual hotel guests.
Our region’s nearly 200 commercial flower and potted-plant growers rely on natural gas to maintain temperatures in their greenhouses so plants and produce can not only grow, but thrive.
At our region’s hospitals and healthcare facilities, keeping the lights on and equipment running can be the difference between life and death. That’s why many of our region’s hospitals, including Rady Children’s and Scripps, have installed cogeneration facilities, capable of converting natural gas into electricity to power their operations.
Natural gas keeps operations moving for our region’s $7 billion manufacturing industry.
Natural gas drives MTS and the North County Transit District. Several school districts are in the process of converting to compressed natural gas (CNG) bus fleets, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As one of the nation’s top three regions for biotechnology, San Diego’s life sciences companies knows that natural gas is a key energy source for manufacturing the pharmaceuticals that keep us healthy.
Schools of all levels use natural gas to meet their significant energy and heating needs. In this way, natural gas allows children of all ages to learn in a comfortable environment. For students studying and residing at our region’s colleges and universities, natural gas is used to help cook their food, heat their water and wash their clothes.
San Diego is proud to be home to the largest concentration of military in the world. The defense industry represents one in every four jobs in San Diego, many of which would not be possible without a reliable and abundant supply of natural gas.
Benefits of Natural Gas
Clean – Natural gas is one of the cleanest fuels available today. It produces up to 65 percent fewer emissions than coal and 25 percent fewer emissions than oil . The use of natural gas has helped Southern Californians reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking more than a half million cars off the road . Efforts continue to promote natural gas efficiency programs and transition fleets of trucks, buses and trains to natural gas.
Safe – Natural gas is used across the U.S. to safely power homes and businesses, and SDG&E has a long track record as one of the country’s safest utilities. SDG&E has been named the most reliable electric utility in the western United States for the 11th straight year and in 2014 was recognized as a “Best in the Nation” utility for its commitment to safety and reliability.
Abundant – Natural gas is one of the most abundant energy sources in North America. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates the U.S. has nearly 2,500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves beneath its soil, or enough to meet the nation’s energy needs for the next 100 years .
Supports Renewables – Until renewable energy sources such as wind and solar can meet all of our region’s energy needs, we need additional sources of power to bridge the gap during times when renewables aren’t available or don’t meet the needs during peak times when demand is high. Reliable and quick-start natural gas facilities help ensure our region’s energy needs are safely and reliably met.
- "Natural Gas 101" Encana.
- Lane, B. (2014, November 13). Energy summit highlights how natural gas could fuel the future. The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- American Gas Association. (2015). 2015 Playbook.