Strategic Pathways and Analytics for Tactical Decommissioning of Portions of Natural Gas Infrastructure in Southern California

This project will develop multi-disciplinary and objective analytical framework for decision makers to decommission portions of natural gas infrastructure in Southern California in an equitable and cost-effective way.

The RAND Corporation

Recipient

Santa Monica, CA

Recipient Location

26th

Senate District

50th

Assembly District

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$526,736

Amount Spent

refresh

Active

Project Status

Project Update

This project developed an objective analytical framework to identify where gas system decommissioning and electrification in Southern California will (1) serve the interests of affected communities, (2) lead to net economic and societal benefits, and (3) be plausible under a wide range of possible future conditions. The project team collected stakeholder decision criteria and equity concerns via interviews and workshops. Community stakeholders identified issues of concern such as cost allocation, presence of reliable engineering data, consideration of non-cost effects on customers, and consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and air quality. Informed by these decision criteria, the project team built a decision support tool to help stakeholders identify strategic sites for decommissioning. Within the tool, the project team can estimate costs and benefits of decommissioning across pre-meter costs, post-meter costs and benefits, ratepayer impacts for gas utility customers, ratepayer impacts for electric utility customers, and other non-cost concerns such as equity. Finally, the project team used the tool to conduct a deliberative democracy workshop to identify strategic sites for decommissioning. This approach increased trust in experts and local communities. The project team has completed a set of Guidelines for Strategic Decommissioning of Gas Infrastructure in Southern California. The project team is completing the Final Report and finalizing Pilot Project Applications for future gas decommissioning projects.

The Issue

California has some of the most aggressive policies in the U.S. for reducing emissions associated with gas consumption. Decommissioning gas infrastructure and switching customers to electricity will likely be the most cost-effective approach to meeting these goals. However, this transition and the approach taken for decommissioning will have large impacts on both gas and electric customers and utilities. It is important to ensure socioeconomic equity issues are considered in decommissioning efforts. This decision analysis problem becomes even more complex in places where gas and electric utilities are predominantly separate, such as Southern California.

Project Innovation

The project will develop a community-level, stakeholder-informed, multi-disciplinary and objective analytical framework to identify locations in Southern California where decommissioning can occur in a just, equitable, and cost-effective way. The project will bring together detailed models of the gas system with data on the socioeconomic conditions of candidate communities to evaluate different decommissioning sites and approaches and work directly with stakeholders in Southern California communities in Los Angeles County in a series of workshops to understand the key needs and concerns of gas customers and then evaluate the different decommissioning alternatives along cost, viability, and equity lines.

Project Goals

Develop a gas decommissioning decision framework that serves the interests of affected communities.
Inform plausible gas decommissioning approaches that provide net economic and societal benefits.

Project Benefits

By empirically determining the costs and benefits of decommissioning gas infrastructure to California ratepayers, stakeholders will be able to understand the implications of electrification and an energy transition so they can select the most equitable and beneficial options. This project will assist the CEC, the California Public Utilities Commission, other regulatory agencies, and utilities in aligning their strategic decarbonization plans with the rigorous criteria developed from this study to determine future gas infrastructure decommissioning projects.

Lower Costs

Affordability

This Agreement will result in ratepayer benefits of lower costs by estimating and comparing the outcomes of different decommissioning strategies under a wide range of plausible futures, thus supporting selection of decommissioning strategies that will ensure ratepayer benefits as California transitions away from fossil gas.

Greater Reliability

Reliability

Estimating and comparing the outcomes of different decommissioning strategies under a wide range of plausible futures will help ensure a more reliable gas system as communities transition to electrification.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Kelly Klima

Research Engineer
RAND Corporation

Subrecipients

Rocket

Institute of Gas Technology dba GTI Energy

Rocket

University of California Los Angeles, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Los Angeles Regional Collaborative

Rocket

Match Partners

Rocket

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas)

Rocket

Upcoming Events

Past Events

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