In 2020, we announced a goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions created by the electricity we generate or purchase for our customers by 2040.
Recently, we announced we are taking it a step further by committing to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions from our entire natural gas production and delivery system – including customers and suppliers – by 2050.
And while 2050 is the projected date, that doesn’t mean we are waiting to act. In fact, we are already implementing industry-leading plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions created by our operations, including:
- Modernizing our natural gas system to achieve net zero methane emissions by 2030.
- Ending coal use and boosting renewable energy fuel sources to achieve net zero carbon emissions from our electric operations by 2040.
- Pledging to power 1 million electric vehicles in the communities it serves by 2030.
“Natural gas is safe and affordable and now it can be even more clean,” President and CEO Garrick Rochow said. “We’re making historic, industry-leading changes to protect our planet. This commitment is another step in leading the clean energy transformation for Michigan.”
As a next step on our path to net zero by 2050, we will partner with customers to reduce their emissions by 20 percent by 2030.
Pursuing a net zero goal for all emission sources, including those from customers and suppliers, aligns the our efforts with Michigan’s Healthy Climate Plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 as well as the recommendations of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming.
We know that there will not be a one-size-fits-all solution for our customers, which is why we are executing and exploring a variety of pathways to support customers and suppliers who want to reduce their emissions, including:
- Carbon offsets: We recently received regulatory approval for a new program for residential and business customers who want to voluntarily offset carbon emissions from their natural gas use by investing in projects that help Michigan forests reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- Renewable natural gas, or RNG: Produced from organic wastes and other renewable sources, RNG is interchangeable with conventional natural gas and a key technology available to reduce methane emissions. We recently announced an agreement with Swisslane Farms in west Michigan to build a biodigester facility that, with regulatory approval, will convert agricultural waste into RNG.
- Energy efficiency: Providing customers with the power to reduce energy waste and lower bills through a variety of energy efficiency and demand response programs. Since 2009, we’ve helped customers save about $4 billion and prevented the emission of almost 19 million tons of carbon dioxide.
- Emerging technologies: Potential solutions include using hydrogen to produce energy, capturing and permanently storing carbon emissions from natural gas combustion and using hybrid natural gas and electric heat pump systems to heat homes and businesses.
In addition, we are also modernizing our natural gas operations with a 10-year Natural Gas Delivery Plan to ensure the continued delivery of safe, reliable, affordable and clean natural gas. The plan includes accelerated infrastructure replacement, innovative leak detection and key process changes to eliminate, avoid and minimize methane emissions. You can learn more here about how we’re reducing methane emissions from our natural gas operations here: https://force4michigan.com/meet-our-greenhouse-gas-gumshoes/ and here https://force4michigan.com/taking-it-to-the-streets-vehicles-spot-natural-gas-leaks-lower-greenhouse-gas-emissions/
You can also learn more about what “net zero” means here: https://force4michigan.com/net-zero-more-than-just-a-climate-buzzword/.