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Pacific Gas and Electric Company Seeks to Research Biomethane Resources for its Customers Utility Issues Request for Information for Potential Biomethanation Demonstration Project

Release Date: January 24, 2008
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

SAN FRANCISCO - Pacific Gas and Electric Company today announced that it has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to identify partners for a potential project to demonstrate technologies that could cost-effectively produce significant quantities of biomethane - pipeline-quality, renewable natural gas. The demonstration project is part of PG&E's commitment to increase the amount of clean energy it provides customers throughout its northern and central California service area.

Biomethane is pipeline-quality gas derived from biomass as defined by the California Energy Commission (CEC), which includes any organic material not derived from fossil fuels, including agricultural crops, agricultural and forestry wastes and residues, and construction wood wastes, among others. Biomethanation is the process of converting biomass to biomethane.

"There is a tremendous opportunity in California to utilize biomass, which would otherwise go unused, to contribute significantly to meeting the state's climate goals," said Fong Wan, vice president of Energy Procurement for PG&E. "With this request for information, we hope to identify promising biomethanation technologies and understand what the market needs for support. Biomethanation is the latest example of how PG&E is planning for the future by exploring innovative technologies to produce and deliver clean energy."

California and the western region of North America contain large quantities of biomass, which could meaningfully contribute toward the state's renewable energy requirements while simultaneously providing other benefits, including greenhouse gas emission reduction, fire prevention, improved local air quality and landfill disposal reduction.

Emerging biomethanation technologies and processes may increase conversion efficiency, expand the range of usable feedstock, and improve the quality of biomethane products. To accelerate the commercial availability of these emerging biomethanation technologies, PG&E is seeking partners to develop and operate a facility that will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of emerging technologies for developing significant quantities of biomethane.

Through the proposed biomethanation demonstration project, PG&E intends to promote viable biomethanation technologies that convert CEC-approved sources of biomass into biomethane that could be injected into PG&E's gas transmission system and delivered for high-value uses such as dispatchable power generation.

PG&E will hold a networking forum on March 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at its San Francisco headquarters to answer questions about the RFI and provide an opportunity for potential project partners to meet. Parties interested in attending the forum must register online by February 22, 2008 at: {www.pge.com/pipeline/rfi/rfirsvp.pdf}. For more information about the RFI, or to participate in PG&E's online biomethanation RFI forum, please visit: {www.pge.com/rfi}.

PG&E is a leader in utilizing biomethane. The utility recently received approval by the California Public Utilities Commission of its gas purchase agreements with Microgy, Inc. and with BioEnergy Solutions to deliver up to 8,000 MMBtu per day each of pipeline quality biomethane captured from cow manure.

PG&E currently supplies 12 percent of its power from qualifying renewable sources under California's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program. PG&E continues to aggressively add renewable electric power resources to its supply and is on target to exceed 20 percent under contract or delivered by 2010. On average, more than 50 percent of the energy PG&E delivers to its customers comes from generating sources that emit no carbon dioxide, providing among the cleanest energy in the nation.

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