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Protecting Air Quality
We're committed to continuously reducing our emissions through innovative technologies and operational improvements.
Reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions associated with our Midstream operations’ engines, boilers and heaters happens through a combination of:
- performance testing
- technology upgrades
- changes to operating parameters
Thanks to these efforts, we're on track to reach our target of an average of 8 g/kWh by 2021.
At our power plants, the use of natural gas for generation helps reduce atmospheric emissions by displacing higher-intensity energy sources like coal.
Continually Reducing GHG Emissions
To reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from our operations, we consistently measure and monitor emissions, and seek new technologies and other efficiency strategies. New facility construction and major retrofits are all subject to efficiency reviews to optimize potential reductions.
In some of our operating areas, GHG improvements offer direct business benefits through emission offset credits and performance credits that minimize compliance costs. Our existing GHG reduction initiatives have generated life-cycle savings in our Midstream division of $15 to $20 million in credits as of the end of 2018. Read more about what Washington Gas is doing with its fleet and facilities to reduce its environmental impact.
Minimizing Fugitive Emissions
To combat fugitive methane emissions, our Midstream operations have implemented a Fugitive Emission Management Program.
We regularly use infrared and acoustic detection technologies to proactively identify potential sources of leaks. To further reduce methane emissions, we're developing a retrofit compliance plan that sets specific gas-vent limits and identifies equipment for replacement or upgrade.
Our Utilities must meet the requirements of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which requires inspection of distribution systems every five years.
ENSTAR, our Alaska utility, uses a four-year inspection cycle and does annual surveys for fugitive leaks on their copper service lines and steel systems. They also complete inspections on above-ground piping for atmospheric corrosion every two years instead of every three as regulation requires.
In Michigan, SEMCO’s Main Replacement Program (MRP) replaces aging pipeline infrastructure ahead of schedule to reduce leaks and address safety concerns. This approach is to proactively replace aging pipe in large sections instead of small ones after leaks are detected.
Through the MRP, all of SEMCO’s cast, wrought, and ductile iron pipelines were replaced. This has resulted in a 67 percent reduction in corrosion-related leaks since the program’s start in 2011.
For any inquiries regarding this report or its contents, please contact ESG@altagas.ca.