Natural Gas FAQ

NOTE: Please click the Climate Action Plan 2.0 button to find any reference to the document mentioned in the following frequently asked questions.

Does the City’s proposed Climate Action Plan 2.0 ban new natural gas hookups?

No, CAP2.0 does not ban new natural gas.  

The CAP2.0 does reference the work the City of Eugene and Northwest Natural are doing to update their franchise agreement. Both parties are negotiating with the mutual goal to decrease greenhouse gas emissions associated with natural gas. See page 55, Action B1, for more details. 

In addition, Appendix 7 includes materials about the projected impact of regulating natural gas. This information, along with other information included in that appendix, is being used to inform the franchise agreement negotiations.  

Chapter 10 of the CAP2.0 includes ideas for potential actions submitted by community members though a survey in April 2020. As noted on page 94, “The purpose of this list is to provide a source of ideas for potential actions to address the climate emergency. These ideas differ from the actions in chapters 5,6, and 7 in that community partners have not committed to implementing them. Before choosing to implement any of these ideas, the Eugene Climate Collaborative or other community partners will need to conduct research and should consider a triple bottom line analysis…”

See CAP 2.0 Background to learn more about the Eugene Climate Collaborative and the development of the CAP2.0.

Will I have to give up natural gas in my home/business if I already have it?

No, the CAP2.0 does not require any existing customer to give up natural gas. 

What does the Climate Action Plan 2.0 say about natural gas in our community?

The CAP2.0 includes information on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions emitted due to natural gas use in the Eugene. The construction and operations of buildings (called Building Energy) accounts for 32% of local emissions. Within this amount, the majority of emissions are from natural gas use; the remainder comes from electrical and other fuel sources.

In addition, the CAP2.0 includes several actions related to natural gas: 

  • As described in Action B1, the City of Eugene and Northwest Natural are currently working on a new franchise agreement with the intention to decrease community wide emissions associated with natural gas. The agreement is expected to be completed in late 2020. Details will be added to Eugene’s list of climate commitments once the agreement is finalized.
  • In Action B2, the City of Eugene will report to City Council different options and funding strategies to support energy efficiency programs for low income EWEB and Northwest Natural customers by 2021.
  • In Action B11, EWEB and Northwest Natural will offer limited income assistance programs and energy conservation education programs, which provide eligible customers with rebates and incentives to lower and pay their bills.
  • In Action B14, Northwest Natural’s Smart Energy Program allows customers to purchase carbon offsets equal to the amount of the carbon dioxide created by their natural gas use.
  • In Action B15, Northwest Natural partners with the Energy Trust of Oregon to offer energy efficiency programs to natural gas customers.
  • In Action B16, Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission (MWMC) is building biogas purification facilities to produce Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) and a pipeline to connect to Northwest Natural’s utility grid. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 with a target completion in 2021.
  • In Action B24, under Governor Brown’s Executive Order (EO) 20-04, utilities, including natural gas providers, will be regulated under a ‘Cap and Reduce’ framework, that reduces emissions statewide at least 45% below 1990 levels by 2035 and at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. In support of this EO, the City of Eugene will participate in the rule making processes of the Oregon Public Utility Commission, the Oregon Department of Energy, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and the Oregon Building Codes Division to seek policy and regulatory outcomes that align with the CRO.

Why is natural gas part of the Climate Action Plan 2.0?

Climate change is happening now, and its impacts will continue to intensify as our planet’s temperature rises. While climate change cannot be stopped, it can be slowed. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use is one of the most effective ways to potentially slow climate change and reduce the impacts on our lives and for future generations.

Eugene’s Climate Recovery Ordinance (CRO) calls for a community-wide 7.6% annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. It also calls for a community-wide 50% reduction in fossil fuel use by 2030 compared to 2010 usage. The CAP2.0 is Eugene’s roadmap to achieving these CRO goals. 

Eugene’s 2017 Community Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory showed that about 282,000 MT CO2e were emitted from natural gas in Eugene in that year, more than 25% of Eugene’s emissions. In addition, it shows that natural gas makes up about 5,300,000 MMBTU, almost 40% of Eugene’s fossil fuel use if measured by MMBTU.  

Based on this data, it is critical to consider the role of natural gas can play in helping reduce local emissions to reach our community-wide goals.