Duke Energy Corp has announced plans to achieve net-zero methane emissions from its gas utility business by 2030.
The company announced the target on Oct. 9, 2020 roughly a year after it said it would attempt to hit net-zero emissions across its entire business by 2050. To meet the goal, the company plans to embrace new technologies, step up damage reduction and leak survey initiatives, fine-tune operations and address remaining emissions through methane offsets through solutions such as renewable natural gas, or RNG.
According to S&P Global, net-zero-by-2030 goals remain rare in the gas utility space, an industry focused on distributing a product composed almost entirely of methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Like many utilities, Duke has mainly reduced methane emissions through safety-oriented pipeline replacement programs. Over the last 15 years, the company has invested $1 billion in eliminating leak-prone iron and bare steel pipes from its system and replacing them with plastic and coated steel mains, particularly in its Midwest Duke Energy Ohio Inc. territory.
“The capital investment side of this, a lot of that is in the rearview window, and to really keep making strides to net zero, it’s more around operational practices,” Sasha Weintraub, Duke’s senior vice president and chief commercial officer of natural gas said in an interview.
“We’re trying to figure out what are we not counting that we are responsible for, or we should be addressing in this net-zero methane goal,” Weintraub said.
Duke continues to see a long-term role for natural gas but acknowledges the need to tackle methane emissions beyond its distribution system. To help achieve net-zero methane emissions, the company will seek to procure gas from producers that aim to reduce their own emissions.
Duke Energy is also a current member of the Race to Zero campaign, you can find more information on their climate actions here.
Find out how to join the Race to Zero here.