Colorado’s utilities about to face new methane gas purchasing rule

Colorado is on the verge of requiring the largest utilities in the state to buy a growing portion of the natural gas they purchase from renewable sources such as sewage plants, dairies and landfills.

The law would require that by 2025 at least 5% of natural gas bought by utilities with more than 200,000 gas customers come from such renewable sources of “biogas” — or be captured methane or hydrogen. The percentage of renewable natural gas grows to 15% in 2035.

The idea is to create a market incentive for utilities to use the methane already coming from municipal waste water, landfills, coal beds, dairies and similar places while also cutting the use of fossil fuels, said Sen. Chris Hansen, D-Denver, the bill’s lead sponsor.

“This is a huge opportunity to reduce overall emissions by capturing methane and using it instead of letting it escape into the atmosphere,” Hansen said, noting burning the gas reduces it to far smaller amounts of less harmful pollutants.