U.S. Biogas and Renewable Natural Gas Industry May Benefit from Expansion of EIA Natural Gas Data Collection Efforts
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has recently proposed revisions (available here) to its natural gas data collection survey forms for 2020, including Form EIA-176, the Annual Report of Natural and Supplemental Gas Supply and Disposition. If EIA’s final proposed revisions to Form EIA-176 are approved by the Office of Management and Budget this fall, EIA’s natural gas data collection efforts will expand to include production and consumption data from certain biogas and renewable natural gas producers beginning in 2021.
Proposed Revisions to Form EIA-176
EIA’s proposed revision to Form EIA-176 is to include “Producers of renewable natural gas or biogas, including landfill collection facilities, agricultural digesters, and wastewater treatment facilities” as mandatory respondents. Form EIA-176 collects data on natural, synthetic, and other supplemental gas supplies, disposition, and certain revenues by state, and the data generated from it appear in EIA’s Monthly Energy Review, Natural Gas Annual, and Natural Gas Monthly publications. At present, biogas and renewable natural gas producers are not included within the scope of required respondents to Form EIA-176, and so a wealth of data pertaining to the nascent and high potential U.S. biogas and renewable natural gas industry stands to be tapped from EIA’s proposed revisions.
Impact of EIA’s Data Collection for the U.S. Biogas and Renewable Natural Gas Industry
EIA gathers, reviews and distributes independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment. As the nation’s premier source of energy information, EIA’s collection of current and accurate biogas and renewable natural gas data is vital to the ongoing development of a number of governmental regulations that function to implement federal renewable energy policy targets, such as the Renewable Volume Obligation and Renewable Fuel Standard administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. Thus, by soliciting production and consumption data in a more direct and targeted manner from biogas and renewable natural gas producers nationwide, the breadth and impact of this explosive industry stands to make a more marked impact in the formulation and implementation of governmental renewable energy policy, which should garner the attention of biogas and renewable natural gas project developers, lenders, insurers and sponsors.
What’s to Come
EIA is presently considering comments and feedback to the Form EIA-176 proposed revisions received in response to its initial Federal Register Notice, and intends to initiate an additional 30-day Federal Register Notice that will include any modifications to its initial proposed revisions, regarding which industry stakeholders and interested parties may provide comments and feedback as well. Stay tuned for additional updates as EIA’s proposed revisions to Form EIA-176 move forward.