SoCalGas Proposes “Angeles Link” California Green Hydrogen Mega Project

    SoCalGas proposes to develop United States' largest green hydrogen energy infrastructure system to help decarbonize LA Basin and accelerate California's climate goals.

    In 2019, SoCalGas filed a request with the California Public Utilties Commission to offer renewable natural gas (RNG) to its 21 million customers in central and southern California. (Image Courtesy Of SoCalGas)

    Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) announced its proposal to develop what would be the nation’s largest green hydrogen energy infrastructure system, known as “Angeles Link,” to deliver clean, reliable renewable energy to the Los Angeles (LA) region. As proposed, the Angeles Link would support the integration of more renewable electricity resources like solar and wind and would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electric generation, industrial processes, heavy-duty trucks, and other hard-to-electrify sectors of the Southern California economy. The proposed Angeles Link would also significantly decrease demand for natural gas, diesel, and other fossil fuels in the LA Basin, helping accelerate California’s and the region’s climate and clean air goals.

    “The challenges we face on climate require solutions of scale and urgency,” said Scott Drury, chief executive officer of SoCalGas. “The Angeles Link is designed to meet those challenges head-on. Today in Southern California we’re announcing plans for one of the world’s largest clean energy infrastructure systems, to help tackle emissions for which there are no easy answers. Those emissions — from power plants, industry, and heavy-duty trucks — very much ‘count’ and must be significantly reduced to reach our, and the State’s, climate goals.”

    SoCalGas Playa Del Rey Natural Gas Storage Facility (Image Courtesy Of SoCalGas)

    As the nation’s largest manufacturing hub, the LA Basin is home to many potential green hydrogen users. As proposed, Angeles Link’s green hydrogen could:

    • Displace up to 3 million gallons (11.36 million liters) of diesel fuel per day by replacing diesel powered heavy-duty trucks with hydrogen fuel cell trucks
    • Eliminate up to nearly 25,000 tons (22,680 tonnes) of smog-forming NOx per year
    • Provide the clean fuel to convert up to four natural gas power plants to green hydrogen

    As it stands now, the Angeles Link would deliver green hydrogen in an amount equivalent to almost 25% of the natural gas SoCalGas delivers today. Building the system to provide a clean alternative fuel could, over time and combined with other future clean energy projects, reduce natural gas demand served by the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, facilitating its ultimate retirement while continuing to provide reliable and affordable energy to the region.

    SoCalGas’s Energy Resource Center in Downey, California, offers seminars, demonstrations, and consulting services to help businesses find cost-effective, energy-efficient solutions. (Image Courtesy Of SoCalGas)

    “California policymakers, thought-leaders, businesses, academics, laborers, and environmental communities all agree green hydrogen is vital to achieving our climate and clean air goals,” Drury said. “With relationships to thousands of industrial end users, a regulatory framework that promotes a transparent and robust stakeholder process serving the public interest, and an extraordinary workforce to do the job safely, SoCalGas is well positioned to work with California to capitalize on this pioneering opportunity to build what would be America’s largest green hydrogen hub. The Angeles Link project, if approved and completed, is poised to extend our state’s position as a leader on clean energy well into the future while helping to attract billions of dollars in new investment and maintaining and creating thousands of skilled jobs.”

    “If we are going to be successful in tackling the climate emergency, we need every company, every worker, and every community on the front lines,” Senate Majority Leader Emeritus Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) said. “This effort to establish a green hydrogen energy system in the Los Angeles basin is a creative and inventive step forward in that fight. It will not only dramatically reduce carbon emissions, it will create good-paying jobs.”

    “As President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, my priority is creating good union jobs while also seeking solutions that protect workers and their families when they return from a hard day’s work,” said Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “The thought of creating a massive clean, green energy hub in Los Angeles, growing union jobs, and preserving the thousands of middle-class jobs for refinery, utility, and electrical workers is exactly the sort of out-of-the-box thinking that this project presents. This is infrastructure done right.”

    “Infrastructure projects like Angeles Link are critical to realizing the green hydrogen vision we developed in HyDeal LA because it will enable low delivered cost for large-scale users across multiple sectors,” said Janice Lin, founder and president of the Green Hydrogen Coalition. “Continuing a California tradition of leading on climate, Angeles Link will help position the United States among global leaders in green hydrogen development.”

    “We are on the precipice of huge growth in the production, distribution, and use of green hydrogen to enable high renewable use and zero emissions in all sectors of the economy,” said Jack Brouwer, director the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine. “For nearly a decade, SoCalGas has worked together with us and others to make the hydrogen economy a reality, including helping us build the very first power-to-gas-to-power system in the country right here on the UCI campus. The Angeles Link is a great example of what can be done when government, industry, and academia work together toward a common purpose.”

    Green Hydrogen’s Role In Reaching Net-Zero Emissions By 2045

    Renewable green hydrogen has the potential to deliver significant emissions reductions in industries and sectors where renewable electricity alone cannot. Research studies conducted by Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL LA100) highlight the need for clean fuels like green hydrogen to achieve Los Angeles’ LA100 net-zero goals and California’s mid-century climate goals.

    Global investments in green hydrogen are helping to reduce its cost. Locally, HyDeal Los Angeles, an initiative of the Green Hydrogen Coalition, a non-profit organization supported by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), SoCalGas, Mitsubishi Power, and others aims to make green hydrogen cost-competitive with traditional fuels — and achieve at-scale green hydrogen procurement at US$1.50/kilogram in the LA Basin by 2030.

    SoCal Gas’s research and development program seeks to advance and champion technologies that support widespread access to clean, affordable, and reliable energy for all Californians. (Image Courtesy Of SoCalGas)

    The proposed Angeles Link is key to helping the region achieve its goals, and it is an extension of SoCalGas’ role as an industry leader in hydrogen. In 2015, the company launched the first power-to-gas hydrogen demonstration project in the United States. Today SoCalGas has 10 hydrogen pilot projects in motion and is testing moving hydrogen through existing natural gas infrastructure.

    Preliminary Actions  

    To promote the public’s interest in transparency and accountability, SoCalGas filed an application with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requesting approval to track costs related to development of the Angeles Link. The company proposes a phased approach with a robust stakeholder process each step of the way. The application includes descriptions of each phase, including development of a detailed project application as part of Phase 3. With this application submission the proposed Angeles Link is in its initial stage of development, and subsequent stages will require further regulatory review and discretionary approvals, among other things.

    In support of California’s climate goals and in alignment with Paris Agreement recommendations, SoCalGas set a net-zero emissions goal for Scopes 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. SoCalGas’ Aspire 2045 strategy focuses on helping California navigate the energy transition to a carbon-neutral economy with a resilient, clean gas grid.