Sempra’s Fracking Future

In 2019, Sempra Energy—the parent company of SDG&E—sold the last of its renewable energy projects. Scott Kelly, a professor of biology at SDSU, is working with the Raise the Alarm Team of to increase public awareness of Sempra’s plans “to build a fracked gas empire,” which he describes as a “climate bomb” that will only lead to increased global warming and greater dependence on fossil fuels.

“It’s widely recognized that we need to stop producing fossil fuels if we want to prevent the climate crisis from causing long lasting harm to our planet,” says Kelly. “But, instead of working to accelerate our transition to clean energy, Sempra has turned its back on solar and other forms of renewable energy because they compete with their vision to expand fracked gas.”

Sempra describes itself as “an energy infrastructure company built for the future.” But, the infrastructure the company is intent on building is for the transport of fracked methane—a powerful greenhouse gas—that it plans to sell to Mexico and European nations for a tidy profit. This is in spite of the fact that 30% of global warming is caused by methane, and leaks of this greenhouse gas are known to occur at every step of the fracking process.

In 2020, Sempra announced its plans to invest some $32 billion—the largest five- year capital plan in the company’s history—in pipelines and terminals to transport mainly fracked methane gas—liquified natural gas—to ports in Texas for European export and Mexico.

“As we all know,” says Kelly, “San Diegans pay the most for fossil fuel distribution. It’s our high gas rates that are helping to fund these gas pipelines.”

Sempra’s rationale for not abandoning fossil fuels? They claim they will be helping other nations to transition from coal plants to “a cleaner fuel—LNG.” But, they are choosing to ignore the science. Not only is liquified natural gas not cleaner in terms of emissions, but fracked gas also leads to water and air pollution, explosions and leaks, and higher cancer rates among those living in proximity to fracking sites.

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