Southern Company Gas enjoys two-decade run of lowering emissions
As companies and energy providers strive to build a clean energy future, Southern Company Gas can look back on a solid foundation that has been built over the past two decades.
During a 20-year timeframe, from 1998 to 2018, we successfully reduced our annual methane emissions by 50% while growing our distribution system by 20%.
By cutting emissions in half while expanding production, we’ve shown we’re on the leading edge of innovation in the energy industry. In short, we grew by leaps and bounds while also reducing our impact on the environment. In a world that has become increasingly environmentally conscious, Southern Company Gas has laid a solid groundwork for the future.
“We know that being a leader in the natural gas industry means making significant investments of our time, energy and resources to support and improve our communities and the environment,” said Kim Greene, president and CEO of Southern Company Gas. “While we are proud of this industry-leading milestone, we’re committed to continuing efforts to reduce emissions further though innovative technologies and processes.”
The results showcase our 20-year commitment to the environment while we achieved commercial success and safety improvements.
Today, as companies and people are thinking more responsibly about the future, Southern Company Gas and other organizations like us are tasked with building a future marked by clean energy.
It’s a mission we’ve already started. In that two-decade span, we mitigated more than 3.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere. These reductions are the result of aggressive investment in programs, such as those targeting pipeline replacement, to improve the safety and performance of our natural gas system. The methane reductions are the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of removing more than 700,000 cars from the roadway for a year.
The future of natural gas
The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects a 50% jump in natural gas consumption globally through 2035, with Brazil and China driving increased demand. The fastest growing use for natural gas is the generation of electric power, giving companies like Southern Company Gas a key role to play at the forefront of the industry.
Natural gas isn’t exactly a household word. While most people are aware of its existence, few realize exactly how prevalent it is already and how vital to a clean future natural gas will be. It is the world’s cleanest fossil fuel (among coal, crude oil, petroleum and liquefied petroleum gas). Odorless and colorless in its natural state, natural gas puts out half the emissions of coal when used.
Natural gas is also traditionally cheaper than electricity.
“Most of the natural gas we find and use today began as microscopic plants and animals living in shallow marine environments millions of years ago,” explained the American Gas Association (AGA). “As living organisms, they absorbed energy from the sun, and they stored that energy as carbon molecules in their bodies. When the organisms died, they sank to the bottom of the sea, and were covered by layers of sediment. Some of the biomaterial buried deep in the earth, combined with the pressure of compaction and heat, has been converted into natural gas.”
The sterling 20-year track record of cutting emissions is only the beginning for Southern Company Gas.
We have been a leader on methane reduction projects by serving as a trusted consumer education source for energy efficiency and participating in federal emissions reduction programs. This includes being a founding member of Our Nation’s Energy Future (ONE Future) where industries across the value chain voluntarily set goals for methane emission reductions.
Our emissions intensity reduction goals mirror those established by the ONE Future program. The Southern Company Gas current intensity rate of 0.134 percent is less than ONE Future goals for 2020 (0.48 percent) and 2025 (0.44 percent). The methane emissions intensity rate – the rate of methane emissions released to the atmosphere – is calculated as the volume of fugitive methane emissions divided by the total volume of methane throughput and expressed as a percentage.