A new White House strategy paper on reducing emissions of methane—a powerful greenhouse gas—named Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) as one of five natural gas utilities nationwide "collaborating to address key technical and regulatory factors affecting methane emission reduction opportunities from natural gas distribution systems."
The official Climate Action Plan, produced at the direction of President Obama, credited PG&E and other members of the Natural Gas Downstream Initiative with focusing on reducing methane leaks by encouraging "programs that accelerate investments in infrastructure and promote outstanding operations, including modernizing their systems and utilizing next generation technologies."
As part of its focus on safety and the environment, PG&E is employing the use of state-of-the-art technologies to identify and locate methane leaks throughout its system. In addition, PG&E is collaborating with other industry members on research to measure emissions from natural gas distribution systems. The company has long been active in the fight against climate change.
For methane research, PG&E, along with several other gas utilities and the American Gas Association, are partnering with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a nationwide study to better understand natural gas leak rates and methane emissions from local distribution systems. This study is expected to be released later in 2014.
"PG&E has set out to create the safest, most reliable gas system in the country," said Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E's executive vice president of gas operations. "We're modernizing our infrastructure with the help of smart, innovative technologies that are shaping the future of energy delivery and helping to address climate change."
Some of the tools PG&E has helped pioneer include Picarro Surveyor™, a car-mounted leak detection system 1,000 times more sensitive than traditional equipment; Detecto Pak-Infrared, which uses infrared technology to pinpoint methane gas leaks without false alarms caused by other gases; and flexible, self-propelled, camera-equipped robots for remotely surveying the interior of pipelines.
Read the full Climate Action Plan, or learn more about how PG&E is supporting investments in new technology to detect and reduce methane leaks.