SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA) and Dominion Energy Utah have signed a Joint Cooperation Statement aimed at reducing air pollution and improving energy efficiency within the UIPA jurisdictional area. The partnership will explore the use and development of innovative programs and technologies associated with natural gas development including renewable natural gas, alternative fuels and energy efficiency. Renewable natural gas captures more greenhouse gasses than it emits, so is considered carbon negative. It is pipeline-quality gas produced from existing waste streams and a variety of renewable and sustainable biomass sources. Sources may include waste water, landfills, agricultural waste or food waste.
“The pressure for companies to transfer to sustainable energy is coming from customers and investors, but that switch takes time and resources,” said Jack Hedge, Executive Director of UIPA. “Collaboration is key to getting over those hurdles, and UIPA is dedicated to helping harness these emerging and innovative fuel and energy opportunities.”
The four-year agreement will focus efforts in two areas: alternative fuels and innovative energy technologies. That includes the study and development of pilot programs aimed at converting or replacing conventional vehicles – including short line railroad engines, heavy-, medium- and light-duty trucks, forklifts, and other cargo transport vehicles – to operate on natural gas using renewable natural gas or other clean sources. New technologies designed to use natural gas more efficiently and reduce air pollution emissions will also be evaluated.
“Natural gas is a viable answer for meeting the energy needs of today and tomorrow, including being part of a Net Zero future.” said Craig Wagstaff, Dominion Energy Senior Vice President and General Manager of Western Distribution. “This partnership allows us to explore the most innovative technology and apply it to the benefit of Utah residents, businesses and environment.”
Hedge added, “We have the potential to reinvent current systems through pilot programs that use renewable natural gas from sources such as methane recapture from landfills. We need to look at all the options out there.”
Dominion Energy Utah is working to reduce its methane emissions by 65% over the next decade, 80% by 2040 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Advancing renewable energy and new technology are specific strategies outlined in UIPA’s Strategic Business Plan.
The development of additional agreements and programs are anticipated as this work goes forward.