Building on the President's Climate Action Plan, today the White House and the Department of Energy hosted the fifth in a series of meetings on reducing methane emissions from natural gas systems. Following the meeting, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz announced several new initiatives as DOE's part of the larger Administration Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.
"By expanding our discussions through these methane roundtables, we have heard from several different groups about the benefits to finding workable solutions to the problem of methane leakage," said Secretary Moniz. "These benefits include job creation through pipeline and other equipment replacement, cost recovery for infrastructure investments that increase safety and save energy, and opportunities for addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions."
Methane is both a potent greenhouse gas and a valuable energy resource. To address methane leakage from natural gas systems, DOE announced steps to help modernize the nation's natural gas transmission and distribution systems. As part of the overall Administration's methane strategy, the Energy Department's Initiative to Help Modernize Natural Gas Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure includes:
Efficiency Standards for Natural Gas Compressors -- The Energy Department will begin the process of establishing energy efficiency standards for new natural gas compressor units, which are currently estimated to consume more than 7 percent of natural gas in the U.S. Improved efficiency will help provide energy savings for consumers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Advanced Natural Gas System Manufacturing -- In collaboration with industry, the Department will evaluate and establish a high-impact manufacturing research and development initiative to improve natural gas system efficiency and leak reduction.
Incentives for Modernizing Natural Gas Infrastructure -- Following discussion with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Cheryl LaFleur, Secretary Moniz has recommended that FERC look at ways to provide greater certainty for cost recovery for new investment in modernization of natural gas transmission infrastructure.
Encouraging State Leadership for Efficient Distribution -- The Energy Department will join the National Association of State Regulatory Utility Commissioners in a technical partnership to accelerate investments for infrastructure modernization and repairs to natural gas distribution networks, with DOE providing grant funding and technical assistance to help inform decision-marking by state utility commissioners.
The methane roundtables brought together representatives from industry, labor, academia, environmental and non-governmental organizations, and manufacturing, as well as states and localities to identify opportunities, technical solutions, and best practices to reduce methane emissions from a range of sources.
In addition, as part of the President's Climate Action Plan, the Administration is currently carrying out the Quadrennial Energy Review to develop a comprehensive blueprint for meeting our 21st century energy challenges. The first installment of the QER is focused on the issues of transmission, storage and distribution infrastructure across the energy sector, including natural gas.