SoCalGas Talks Clean Fuels at 2021 California Economic Summit

SoCalGas Talks Clean Fuels at 2021 California Economic Summit

President Maryam Brown talks about leading in energy and why California needs clean fuels

SoCalGas President Maryam Brown delivered remarks at the recent California Economic Summit. She emphasized the importance of an integrated energy system, where the electric and gas grids work together to deliver reliable energy, and how clean fuels play an increasingly crucial role in achieving California’s net-zero goals.

"Energy is complex because it must be several things at once – affordable, equitable, safe, reliable, resilient, and clean,” Brown told an audience of more than 400 attendees in Monterey. “To advance the energy transition and address all those factors, SoCalGas is leaning into the role of clean fuels like hydrogen and renewable natural gas."

The California Economic Summit, now in its 10th year, brings together leaders in policy, business, the environment, innovation, and advocacy to champion solutions that meet a triple bottom line – balancing equity, environmental sustainability, and economic growth. The summit was organized by the California Forward Foundation, a non-profit organization funded by the James Irvine Foundation, the Morgan Family Foundation, and others.

The panel, facilitated by Ahmad Thomas of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, also featured Jason Glickman, Executive Vice President of Engineering, Planning, and Strategy at Pacific Gas & Electric; Miles Reiter, CEO of Driscoll's; and JoeBen Bevirt, CEO of Joby Aviation. 

Brown emphasized the value of an integrated clean energy system to California, saying, "Combining clean electrons from solar, wind, and geothermal with clean molecules from hydrogen and renewable natural gas provides the most affordable and most resilient path through the energy transition to our shared energy and environment goals."

Speaking to the importance of economic security for workers during the energy transition, Brown added, "As much as we need a just transition, we need a just continuation of solid industrial workforce jobs supporting clean fuels so that workers can continue doing work very similar to what they're doing right now."
The previous day Brown was part of a working session on energy sustainability with Kate Gordon of the U.S. Department of Energy, Sarah Dawn Saltzer of Stanford University, and others. At the summit, Stanford University released the results of a comprehensive poll on clean energy and sustainability, which found when Americans receive quality information about energy futures and engage in substantive discussion of energy choices, 70% support the use of hydrogen to power the American economy. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom also spoke at the summit, remarking on the state’s world-leading economy for its innovation and clean energy, saying, "California has no peers. We are world-beating in terms of our economic growth. No other western democracy has outperformed this state. That being said, sometimes at the state level we talk too much about 'what' and 'why' and not enough about 'how.' We need not just dreamers, but doers." 

Brown spoke of SoCalGas' vision for a clean fuels network in the Los Angeles Basin, America's largest manufacturing center, "Because of industry in Los Angeles – steel, cement, glass, and refining – Los Angeles is an ideal location for a hydrogen hub. Add to that our ports, airports, and heavy-duty trucking, there is no better spot for a clean fuels network. And the best part is much of the necessary infrastructure is already in place."

You can view the panel’s remarks here.