Piedmont Natural Gas and its parent company, Duke Energy, have executed plans to reduce methane emissions, resulting in a methane intensity of 0.1270% for our 2020 emissions. We are continuing these efforts by establishing an actionable methane reduction goal by committing to reduce methane emissions to net-zero by 2030. This paves the way for responsible growth of our natural gas distribution system and furthers our journey toward a clean energy future.
Piedmont serves more than 1 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Our natural gas system includes 26,000 miles of transmission and distribution pipelines. We have made tremendous progress in modernizing our pipeline system and reducing methane emissions, having invested significant capital since 2000.
How we plan to reduce downstream methane emissions
We have invested $1 billion over 15 years and eliminated all cast iron and bare steel pipes in our system, removing a substantial contributor to methane leakage. We replaced these pipes with nearly 1,450 miles of modern, plastic or coated steel pipelines. This replacement has resulted in a 95.62% reduction of methane, or 5,663.49 metric tons/year.
Note: This is calculated utilizing EPA GHGRP emission factors relative to miles/material type of pipe removed and replaced.
We are pilot testing and deploying new technologies to improve our measurement and monitoring of methane emissions.
- We have a one-year pilot underway to evaluate the effectiveness of satellite technology.
- We are analyzing the use of drones, fixed-wing detection, and other real-time monitoring and measurement devices on natural gas infrastructure to pinpoint leaks faster.
- We are pilot testing and deploying new technologies to avoid the intentional release of natural gas related to activities such as blowdowns.
Our damage-reduction initiatives help reduce the unintended escape of methane when third parties strike our pipelines.
- Deploying our expert technicians to oversee high-risk excavations under the Watch and Protect program
- Adopted Gold Shovel Standard operating principles to improve public safety and the integrity of buried infrastructure
- Proactively working to reduce leak inventory faster
We have adopted a “Find It, Fix It” strategy. By increasing our leak survey frequency across our distribution system from five years to three years, we can identify and repair potential leaks more quickly.
- Continuing to survey our transmission lines quarterly through aerial and on-foot inspections
We plan to employ net carbon offset techniques for any small, remaining emissions not captured through monitoring and operational improvements.
- Achieve net-zero goal by the deployment of renewable natural gas and other climate solutions, such as forestry projects or bio energy with sequestration
Renewable energy is typically associated with solar, wind and hydropower, but it can also come from farms, food waste and landfills in the form of natural gas. Renewable natural gas (RNG) is methane that has been captured from the breakdown of organic waste and processed to remove contaminants and meet natural gas pipeline quality standards. Generation of RNG benefits both the environment and our customers, as well as creating jobs at RNG facilities.
We are sourcing RNG for our compressed natural gas (CNG) stations, with a pilot project underway. We plan to extend RNG to our publicly accessible fueling stations, further increasing the environmental benefit of CNG.
Piedmont’s parent company, Duke Energy, invested in SustainRNG, a developer of renewable natural gas projects in the agriculture sector, converting a source of methane emissions to a renewable and usable fuel source.
Read more about how we are working toward reducing methane emissions by 2025.