Natural Gas Innovation Act
Innovation for Minnesota's cleaner energy future
In June 2023, CenterPoint Energy proposed the first five-year innovation plan under Minnesota’s Natural Gas Innovation Act (NGIA) – a landmark state energy law passed with bipartisan support in 2021.
NGIA creates a new regulatory framework for natural gas utilities to invest in renewable energy resources and innovative technologies that aim to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. CenterPoint’s innovation plan is subject to review and approval by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). More than two-thirds of Minnesota households and businesses currently depend on natural gas for heating. NGIA recognizes that Minnesota must pursue multiple pathways to reduce and eliminate emissions while continuing to provide the reliable, cost-effective energy that our natural gas customers count on every day, especially on the coldest days.
What is included in CenterPoint’s innovation plan?
Our proposed innovation plan includes 18 pilot projects to deploy and evaluate a broad array of innovative resources and technologies aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Several key elements include:
Investing in made-in-Minnesota carbon negative, zero- and low-carbon gas alternatives
Renewable natural gas (RNG) is produced by capturing and recycling organic waste materials from farms, food waste, wastewater treatment facilities and other sources to produce pipeline-quality gas. CenterPoint would purchase RNG for our gas supply, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the production, distribution and consumption of natural gas.
Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen using renewable electricity. It can be blended into CenterPoint’s natural gas supply or used directly in a dedicated system with an industrial or large commercial customer
Networked geothermal system
We propose developing a networked geothermal system to provide building heating and cooling to a neighborhood. A geothermal system uses a network of wells, water, pipes and pumps to pull heat out of the ground to deliver warmth to buildings in winter and to pump heat from those buildings back into the ground to provide cooling in summer.
Through NGIA, we’ll offer customers incentives to install hybrid heating systems that use electric heat pumps with gas backup heating for the coldest weather. We also plan to evaluate new strategies to reduce energy waste and lower emissions through deep energy retrofits of homes and the construction of high-performance commercial buildings.
We plan to offer incentives and support to industrial customers to improve efficiency and reduce emissions for highheat processes (such as glassmaking, concrete production or metal foundries). Electric heat pumps may be suitable for low-to-medium heat processes, while technologies such as carbon capture or green hydrogen may be needed for processes not amenable to electrification.
CenterPoint Energy’s innovation plan and related filings with the Public Utilities Commission can be found on Minnesota eDockets at
eDockets / Public Utilities (mn.gov)
. Select 23 in the year field, type 215 in the number field and the list of filed documents will appear.