The National Regulatory Research Institute’s October 2012 report, “The Role of Natural Gas in California’s Climate Policy,” stated: “As California transitions its energy infrastructure to one that is more environmentally friendly, natural gas holds promise as a fuel that can complement the state’s cap-and-trade program, energy-efficiency measures, and transition to renewables.”

Natural gas is abundant, affordable, clean and reliable. Despite its many benefits, California lacks a long-term strategy to maximize natural gas use as part of its broader energy resource mix.

More than 90 percent of homes in Southern California rely on natural gas for space and water heating.

Hundreds of thousands of businesses trust natural gas to keep their operating costs low and to improve their competitiveness. And, as an alternative vehicle fuel, compressed natural gas is half the price and emits fewer greenhouse gases than diesel or gasoline.

Nearly half of all the electricity consumed in the state is generated with cost-effective natural gas. It will continue to have an important role, as the state adds more renewables resources, by providing reliable back-up power when the sun is not shining or the wind does not blow.

Furthermore, natural gas, when combined with new equipment technologies, or with biogas, provides the opportunity to achieve zero- and near-zero emissions for a broad range of energy applications.

AB 1257 will provide a much-needed road map to California’s sustainable energy future. The bill directs the California Energy Commission, by Jan. 1, 2015, and every four years thereafter, to prepare a report on how the state can best leverage natural gas as an energy resource.

The report would identify strategies for using natural gas as a transportation fuel, determining the optimal role for natural gas-fired generation, optimizing natural gas as a flexible and efficient end-use energy source and taking the best advantage of natural gas as a low emission and renewable resource.

AB 1257 will provide a clear and balanced natural gas policy, helping consumers and businesses save money, facilitating expansion of renewables and clean transportation, and playing a pivotal role in achieving the state’s Assembly Bill 32 emissions reductions goals.