MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Xcel Energy joined the launch of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program today. As a founding member of the program, the company is committed to expanding its efforts to reduce methane emissions from its natural gas system.
“Joining the Methane Challenge supports our proactive approach to operating and maintaining a natural gas system that benefits our customers,” said Cheryl Campbell, Xcel Energy senior vice president of gas. “By participating, we’re continuing to advance best management practices that support clean, safe and reliable service by keeping natural gas flowing through our pipelines, where it belongs.”
Though methane emissions from natural gas systems are less than one percent of Xcel Energy’s greenhouse gas emissions, the company joined the EPA’s Natural Gas STAR program in 2008 in an effort to reduce emissions. Since then, the company has reduced methane emissions by nearly 303,000 million cubic feet, equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions of nearly 20,000 homes using electricity.
Xcel Energy has improved its natural gas system by removing all 880 miles of cast iron pipe from its system. It also used pressure reductions during pipeline maintenance and repairs, and increased efforts to prevent third-party dig-ins and other damage to property.
“Xcel Energy has already made great strides in reducing methane emissions,” said Campbell. “Still, we can do more and plan to address one of the larger emission sources, the venting of pipelines during scheduled construction projects.”
Through a combination of methods, the company estimates it can reduce by about half the escaping methane emissions from venting pipelines during scheduled construction.
Xcel Energy helped shape the Methane Challenge program and its design through its involvement with the American Gas Association and the Downstream Initiative—a collaboration of natural gas energy providers working to address technical and regulatory issues associated with reducing methane emissions from the distribution system. The Methane Challenge provides an opportunity for partners to showcase efforts to reduce methane emissions, improve air quality and effectively capture this energy resource.
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit www.xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.