March 18, 2020. Dominion Energy announced a significant expansion of the company’s greenhouse gas emissions-reduction goals, establishing a new commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The goal covers carbon dioxide and methane emissions, the dominant greenhouse gases, from our electricity generation and gas infrastructure operations. The strengthened commitment builds on the company’s strong history of environmental stewardship, while acknowledging the need to further reduce emissions consistent with the findings of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is also a recognition of the increased expectations and interest, among customers as well as employees, in building a clean energy future.
Thomas F. Farrell, II, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: “Our mandate is to provide reliable and affordable energy – safely. We do that every day, all year long. But we recognize that we must also continue to be a leader in combating climate change. Our employees have always been problem-solvers in the work we do for our customers. I am confident we can use this same mindset to help solve this challenge and leave the world a better place for future generations.
“Dominion Energy already has made important progress on emissions. This new commitment sets an even higher bar that I am confident we can – and will – reach. Net zero emissions will be good for all of our stakeholders – for our customers, communities, employees and investors.”
The commitment is one of the boldest yet in the U.S. energy sector. The company had previously committed to cut methane emissions from its natural gas operations by 50% between 2010 and 2030 and carbon emissions from its power generating facilities by 80% between 2005 and 2050. Progress toward those goals has been significant, as Dominion has cut carbon emissions approximately 50% since 2005 and reduced methane emissions by nearly 25% since 2010.
Under the strengthened emissions framework, the company will focus not only on driving toward the 2050 goal, but on achieving near-term progress, particularly on methane, which is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon. Under the net zero framework, the company is committing to decrease methane emissions by 65% by 2030 and 80% by 2040, from 2010 levels. Furthermore, the company has committed to invest in carbon-beneficial renewable natural gas (RNG) projects that will capture an amount of methane from U.S. farms at least equivalent to any remaining methane and carbon dioxide emissions from the company’s natural gas operations, making Dominion’s gas infrastructure area net zero 10 years before the overall company.
Dominion’s work on emissions was recognized with a “leadership” rating by CDP, a nonprofit that monitors and measures environmental impact. JUST Capital, a nonprofit that promotes corporate responsibility, has also ranked Dominion among America’s top corporate citizens.
Reducing emissions as fast as possible and achieving net zero emissions requires immediate and direct action. That is why the company is moving to extend licenses for its zero-carbon nuclear generation fleet, promoting customer energy efficiency programs, and investing in wind and solar power, lower-carbon natural gas, and carbon-beneficial RNG. Over the long term, achieving this goal will also require supportive legislative and regulatory policies, technological advancements and broader investments across the economy. This includes support for the testing and deployment of such technologies as large-scale energy storage, hydrogen, advanced nuclear and carbon capture, all of which have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Notably, the company is committed to achieving these goals while also continuing to deliver on the company’s core mission of delivering safe, clean, reliable and affordable energy for more than 7 million customers across 18 states.
In addition to reducing its own emissions, Dominion Energy expects to go “beyond” its own efforts to help accelerate greenhouse gas reductions in other industries. The company is well positioned to unlock progress in transportation, agriculture and manufacturing.