Gas System Modernization Program
A fast and effective way to curb emissions from aging natural gas infrastructure is to modernize by replacing old pipes with advanced materials that can also handle lower-carbon fuels, including hydrogen and renewable natural gas (RNG). New Jersey was among the first states to industrialize, and much of its infrastructure is now outdated. PSE&G has more underground cast-iron gas lines than any utility in the nation, many more than a century old.
In 2014, PSE&G began to accelerate the updating of its gas system by replacing aged pipes with state-of-the-art gas lines. We are almost halfway done, having replaced 1,450 miles of gas lines, reducing methane emissions by nearly a quarter of a million metric tons – the equivalent of taking 54,000 cars off the road. The current phase of the Gas System Modernization Program (GSMP) will be completed later this year, which will have reduced methane emissions by approximately 22% compared to 2018 levels. The updated lines are also more reliable. When Tropical Storm Ida caused widespread flooding in September 2021, 90,000 gas customers were spared shutoffs due to our modernizing efforts.
PSE&G wants to continue this worthwhile work and has proposed a three-year extension of GSMP that would put 4,000 people to work per year, replacing an additional 1,140 miles of old pipelines and reducing annual CO2e emissions by approximately 145,000 metric tons. The proposal also includes innovative lower-carbon, natural gas alternative projects, one with renewable natural gas (RNG) and a hydrogen project. The proposed RNG facility would be a collaboration with the Middlesex County Utilities Authority to inject a local energy source into PSE&G’s gas distribution system. The hydrogen project will use electricity from a solar farm to produce green hydrogen from water.
The proposal supports Governor Murphy’s recently announced executive orders to accelerate the reduction of methane emissions, especially in overburdened communities disproportionately impacted by climate change. More than a third of the low-pressure cast iron upgrades would be in municipalities with significant overburdened communities.
Modernizing the natural gas distribution system that nearly 2 million customers rely on to cook and heat their homes and businesses is part of PSE&G’s commitment to a clean energy future that considers affordability and reliability as we transition to a lower carbon future. PSEG favors a balanced approach to a lower carbon future, electrifying when and where it is possible and affordable. This approach recognizes the challenges of the clean energy transition. For example, electrifying space heat in New Jersey is costly and not viable for all homeowners. This is especially true for those living in older buildings, due to structural constraints, or with low or moderate incomes, due to the expense.
Modernizing the gas distribution system is something we can do today to reduce emissions contributing to climate change while providing customers with a reliable and affordable energy source.