The Role of Natural Gas Infrastructure in Achieving a Clean, Safe, Reliable, and Equitable Energy System

Speakers: Joseph Avila, Senior Director of Energy Policy & Strategy, Southern California Gas Company
Host: Energy and Efficiency Institute & Graduate School of Management
Date: 3/12/2021
Time: 9am to 9:50am
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California has set transformational energy goals over the past several years, including SB 100 which requires that renewable energy and zero-carbon resources supply 100 percent of electric retail sales to end-use customers by 2045. After signing SB 100, Governor Brown also issued Executive Order B-55-18, setting a target for economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2045. California has a long history of environmental leadership and is seen as a leader in the fight against climate change. Unfortunately, California’s nation-leading climate friendly policies are also having unintended consequences resulting in increased energy insecurity and affordability challenges, particularly for working families and those living in underserved communities. Recent events in California and Texas have demonstrated the operational vulnerabilities and consequences to both people and property posed by a solar/wind-based energy system backed by batteries. The recent power outages experienced in California and Texas further illustrated the critical need for long duration storage to bridge the gap between energy demand and reliable supply. By investing in Renewable Natural Gas production and deploying utility-scale P2G projects to produce Green Hydrogen and other molecular fuels, California can use its existing and planned natural gas infrastructure to store significant amounts of solar and wind power for months and cost-effectively address seasonal fluctuations in energy supply and demand.

Joseph Avila is Senior Director of Energy Policy & Strategy for Southern California Gas Company, the nation’s largest gas distribution utility.  He is responsible for encouraging and supporting sensible energy policies and regulations to help California achieve its environmental and greenhouse gas mitigation objectives. Prior to joining SoCalGas, Avila spent more than 18 years working in the City of Los Angeles as Chief of Staff, Legislative Analyst and as Staff Assistant to LADWP’s General Manager. He also spent 10 years in the private sector as a corporate banker and consultant acquiring expertise in renewable and conventional electric power plant development and operations, enterprise-wide benchmarking, and project finance. A native of Los Angeles, Avila holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor Arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.