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Oregon

Cascade Natural Gas is proud to provide natural gas customers in Central and Eastern Oregon with safe, reliable, competitively priced, and environmentally responsible energy service.

The direct use of natural gas in homes and buildings is the most efficient use of this valuable energy source. We believe that energy efficiency, paired with the increased integration of renewable natural gas (RNG) in the pipeline, and continued innovation in the natural gas sector, is the best pathway forward for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

We also believe there is a strong role for Cascade to play as part of a decarbonized future. Natural gas helps balance the grid and makes room for intermittent energy sources like wind and solar. Just as wind and solar have become more affordable over time, so too will renewable natural gas and hydrogen.

As part of our efforts to mitigate GHG impacts, and serve as a good steward of our environment, Cascade partners with the Energy Trust of Oregon to deliver energy efficiency opportunities to core residential and commercial natural gas customers.

Cascade is revenue decoupled, meaning our profits are separated from how much natural gas is used by customers. This means we aggressively pursue energy efficiency on behalf of our customers.

Cascade is actively exploring opportunities to lower our GHG emissions through sourcing and integrating RNG into our system and encouraging innovation in the market transformation of gas technologies in partnership with Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA).

Additional information about the role of natural gas as part of a decarbonized future can be found in the FAQ below.

natural gas is good

What is natural gas?

Natural gas is a safe, reliable energy source composed of four hydrogen atoms and one carbon atom (CH4). When it burns, natural gas produces mostly carbon dioxide, water vapor and small amounts of nitrogen oxides.

Much of the natural gas we find and use today began as microscopic plants and animals millions of years ago. However, natural gas can also be produced by capturing methane in biogas produced by dairies, landfills, and wastewater treatment plants that would otherwise go into the atmosphere. The biogas is converted to biomethane, a usable pipeline gas known as renewable natural gas (RNG).

What role does Cascade play in providing natural gas to customers in Oregon?

Cascade is a local distribution company that transports natural gas to over 75,000 customers in 28 communities in Oregon. We are currently exploring opportunities for integration of RNG into our system. Our focus is providing customers safe, reliable, competitively priced, and environmentally responsible energy service.

Where is Cascade’s natural gas sourced?

Cascade provides our customers with domestically sourced natural gas from three areas of North America: British Columbia, Alberta, and the Rockies. We are also beginning to explore renewable sources of natural gas to add to our system as well. The plentiful supply of natural gas in North America makes Oregon, and our nation, less dependent on foreign energy imports, which compromise our energy independence and security.

Is natural gas safe?

Yes. Oregon’s natural gas utilities are committed to providing safe, reliable service to our customers. Cascade delivers natural gas through a highly engineered pipeline system in a safe, environmentally sound process. Natural gas pipelines are the safest method of energy transportation, according to National Transportation Safety Board statistics.

Cascade uses the latest technology, security, and industry practices to monitor pipelines, and maintain service and safety. We execute many programs to ensure your safety: 24/7 design and construction monitoring; integrity management; inspection and patrol; public safety outreach; and communication/training with emergency officials.

We are also proud partners with 811 Call Before You Dig.

More information on our Safety Efforts can be found on our website.

While natural gas is safe for use in homes and buildings, health and safety risks can be mitigated through proper maintenance and operation of gas-fired appliances. Cascade recommends installing carbon monoxide detectors in buildings with natural gas equipment, and an exhaust for all electric and natural gas ranges, cooktops and ovens to eliminate the normal byproducts of cooking such as steam, smoke, grease and heat. Additional safety tips associated with the use of natural gas in homes and buildings can be found here.

What is the role of natural gas as part of a sustainable energy future?

Natural gas plays an important role in reducing carbon emissions in the US, and is essential to maintaining energy reliability as electric utilities add intermittent renewable resources like wind and solar that depend on the time-of-day and weather conditions. Natural gas allows more renewable energy to come onto the grid without risk of brown-outs, while representing a relatively small percentage of total overall GHG emissions in Oregon.

As more renewable energy is placed onto the system, the direct use of natural gas provides reliable space and water heat, cooking, and other end-uses, taking pressure off the electric grid to provide energy for these essential needs. Natural gas also serves as an important back-up fuel in the event of a no-power situation.

Finally, certain electric technologies, like air-source heat pumps, have reduced capacity to operate effectively in cold climates and under cold weather conditions. Gas/electric hybrid systems can operate a heat pump when it is most efficient to do so, and uses natural gas backup heating when the weather gets too cold for the electric heat pump to operate efficiently.  Natural gas heat pump technology is also evolving to meet the need for highly efficient cold climate heating and cooling. Cascade is proud to serve on the board of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) which is making progress in the market-development of this technology in our region.

What role does gas pipeline infrastructure play in a decarbonized economy?

Cascade’s Oregon pipeline includes mains, services, and transmission facilities that can transport both traditional fuels like natural gas, as well as low- and no-carbon fuels like renewable natural gas and hydrogen. According to the American Gas Association (AGA) emissions from the natural gas distribution system have declined 69% since 1990. This essential infrastructure supports energy reliability and resiliency.

Guidehouse, an energy consulting firm, conducted analysis on behalf of Oregon’s Rural Service Providers including Cascade, which concluded delivery of low carbon gas through deployment of hydrogen technology results in the greatest reduction in economywide GHG emissions. In a decarbonized future, gas networks would continue to support the reliability and resiliency of Oregon’s broader energy system by transporting and distributing low carbon gas and hydrogen. Guidehouse found that scenarios with high levels of electrification do not eliminate GHG emissions from Oregon’s economy unless Oregon’s power sector fully decarbonizes the electricity supplied to its customers.

What role does natural gas play in Oregon’s economy?

The natural gas industry, and the industries dependent on it, play an essential role in Oregon’s economy.

Natural gas provides skilled careers for pipefitters, and chemical workers, as well as HVAC and water heating contractors. It is also essential to the manufacturing of a wide variety of health, domestic infrastructure, and energy efficiency products— including pharmaceuticals, plastics, steel, and synthetic fabrics.

In Cascade’s service area, Oregon farmers rely on fertilizers made with natural gas. They also depend on natural gas for its affordability and reliability for heating even during a power outage.

Natural gas is a cornerstone of our state and national economy. Without natural gas, many products would not be produced, or would become more expensive, fewer jobs would be available, and Oregonians would experience increases to the cost of many goods and services.

I heard there was a ban on natural gas in Oregon. Is this true, and can I still include natural gas as part of my home/building/new development project?

There is no statewide ban on the use of natural gas in Oregon, nor any restrictions on the use of natural gas in Cascade’s Oregon service area. However, some municipalities in western Oregon are considering local ordinances to limit or eliminate the use of natural gas.

Are there efforts taking place in Oregon to ban or otherwise restrict the use of natural gas?

Yes. There is a movement to restrict the use of natural gas in Oregon. More information can be found here.

Are there any alternatives to electrification as a means of lowering GHG emissions?

Natural gas utilities in the Northwest are committed to continuous improvement and decarbonization. By participating in a wide range of initiatives, the utilities are taking actions to reduce their GHG emissions intensity.

Cascade is a founding partner of the EPA’s Natural Gas Star Methane Challenge Program which supports comprehensive actions to reduce methane emissions. We’ve engaged with this initiative since March 2016.

We are also adding a new business area dedicated to sustainability and carbon compliance to help with GHG emissions reduction and have recently expanded staff in support of integrating renewable natural gas into our energy mix.

More about the company’s Environmental Priorities can be found on our website.

Are there any Oregon decarbonization policies that Cascade supports?

Cascade continues to support policies that encourage innovation in the energy sector while maintaining safe, affordable, and reliable energy options.

Senate Bill 98, which was passed by the legislature and signed into law in July of 2019, supports development of RNG efforts for large and small natural gas utilities. Cascade is currently exploring options for adding renewable natural gas into our pipeline consistent with this important law.

Does Cascade have programs to help me lower my GHG footprint and maximize my energy efficiency?

Absolutely. Cascade has been a long-standing champion of energy efficiency and decarbonization. Through our partnership with Energy Trust, Cascade customers are consistently reducing their annual natural gas consumption while investing in high-efficiency equipment and weatherization upgrades.

More information on our Energy Efficiency programs can be found on our website.

How is Cascade able to encourage customers to use less of its product?

Cascade is revenue decoupled, meaning that our profits are separated from how much gas is used by customers. This means we aggressively pursue energy efficiency on behalf of our customers.

Does Cascade provide funding for local community sustainability and environmental education projects?

Yes. Environmental stewardship is an important part of Cascade’s mission and daily life. Cascade is pleased to offer grant opportunities to the communities it serves through its Environmental Community Opportunity (ECO) Fund.

The ECO Fund supports projects that enhance environmental education and stewardship in the communities we serve. Environmental education projects may include grants for teacher training, books, or equipment for classroom use, field trips, or special project support of the natural or physical sciences. Details can be found in the ECO Fund Brochure.