Working in collaboration with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), a nonprofit business development agency that helps accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) has launched an effort to identify and help bring to market potential clean technology solutions in three key areas: fuel cells, renewable natural gas, and distributed natural gas products such as liquid transportation fuels and other chemicals.

Bolstering the research and development efforts of SoCalGas, LACI will investigate key areas and identify leading technologies. They will recruit those best suited for development and help deploy into SoCalGas' service territory and other key markets.

SoCalGas has reserved $1 million dollars of innovation fund capital for the companies selected, and has the option to invest subject to customary legal and financial due diligence and agreeable terms. Instead of entrepreneurs and researchers developing new technologies and then searching for profitable markets, the LACI process works with end customers to identify key technology areas of interest, project the economics of the target solution, size the market and provide customer engagement with the entrepreneur for demonstration and scale up.

SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy, a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.

Sempra Energy is taking great strides in boosting sustainability across all its operations. Only 0.4 percent of its total greenhouse gas emissions are a result of its vehicle operations.

The California utilities’ 7,245 fleet vehicles are used by meter readers, repair crews, and other utility employees to operate and maintain energy infrastructure in their service territories. 

SoCalGas and SDG&E (San Diego Gas & Electric), another subsidiary of Sempra Energy, reduced fleet greenhouse gas emissions by more than 9 percent in 2012, as compared with a 2007 baseline, in part by working to grow their fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles to nearly 1,300 and providing training to maximize fuel efficiency.

SDG&E’s passenger vehicle fleet is comprised of 88 percent alternative-fuel vehicles and SoCalGas is planning to add 1,000 new natural gas-powered trucks to its fleet over the next five years. Additionally, SoCalGas estimates that the installation of advanced meters throughout its service territory will eliminate 6.3 million fleet miles and 2,721 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s Mobile Gas utility in Alabama has implemented a “no idling” motor vehicle policy to increase fuel efficiency. The utility has also begun to explore alternative-fuel vehicles.

Sempra Energy Utilities is among the largest fleets in the U.S., ranked No. 80 on the Top 300 Commercial Fleets for 2013.

Recently, the company also announced it has been selected for the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index and, for the first time, is being added to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.