2013-2014 Citizenship & Sustainability Report

Climate Change

Climate Change

Dominion is fully committed to meeting the carbon challenge responsibly by working for a sustainable solution that balances the interdependent goals of environmental stewardship and economic prosperity.

2013 Highlights

  • Produced 777 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per unit of electric output – about 39 percent below the industry average of 1,275 pounds CO2 per unit of output – according to a 2014 air emissions study conducted by M.J. Bradley & Associates LLC using 2012 data
  • Added more than 200 megawatts of renewable energy to our generating portfolio, including the conversion of three coal-fired stations to biomass; the acquisition of solar-powered facilities in Indiana, Georgia and Connecticut; and the commercial operation of a new fuel cell installation in Connecticut – improving our fuel diversity and environmental footprint
  • Launched a 5-year pilot Solar Partnership Program to build and operate up to 30 megawatts of solar energy facilities on leased rooftops or other grounds of private businesses and public properties. (See Green Energy Programs).

Our Position on Climate Change

Dominion believes a national climate change policy must feature a comprehensive, interrelated strategy that includes the power generation, manufacturing and transportation sectors – the three primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions in our national economy. The strategies for the power generation sector should ensure fuel diversity, a reliable energy supply and affordable electric service, as well as regulatory certainty and cost-effective compliance measures. Public-private partnership investments in the development and deployment of technology-based solutions, including renewable energy, advanced nuclear, efficient natural gas and clean coal technologies, as well as industry and consumer energy-efficiency and conservation programs, are central to securing meaningful and sustainable emissions reductions.

Our Climate Change Strategy

Dominion has an integrated strategy for reducing GHG emission intensity. The cornerstone of the strategy is diversification. Its principal components include initiatives that address energy management, energy production and energy delivery as follows:

  • Enhance conservation and energy efficiency programs to help customers use energy wisely and reduce environmental impacts (See Energy Conservation section of this report)
  • Expand renewable energy resources including wind power, solar and biomass to help diversify our generation fleet, meet state renewable energy targets and lower our carbon footprint (See Operations)
  • Build other new generating capacity including emissions-free nuclear, low-emissions natural gas-fired and fuel cell units, and support research and development of new technologies, including clean coal technologies to meet future electricity needs (See Infrastructure Modernization)
  • Construct new electric transmission infrastructure to modernize the grid, promote economic security and help deliver more green energy to population centers where it is needed most (See Infrastructure Modernization)
  • Divest or close uneconomic coal units which for market reasons or regulatory costs are unable to operate efficiently (See Operations)
  • Reduce methane emissions from transmission and storage facilities by implementing best practices participating in the EPA’s voluntary Natural Gas STAR Program (See Methane Reduction Initiatives section below)

Minimizing Carbon Intensity

Dominion continues to produce fewer less carbon emissions per unit of energy than two-thirds of the nation’s 100 largest power producers.

We attribute this achievement to the balance and diversity of our generation fuel mix, combined with sustained productivity improvements at our power stations and a growing reliance on conservation and efficiency programs.

Since we began tracking our utility fleet emissions in 2000, the average CO2 emissions rate per unit of output has declined by about 19 percent through 2013. During that same time period, the generating capacity of our fleet grew significantly.

Improving the generating efficiency of our utility fleet has been a strategic focus over the past several years. Efficiency improvements allow us to squeeze more power out of our units while using roughly the same amount of fuel – and avoiding additional atmospheric emissions – a plus for our customers and for the environment.

Methane Reduction Initiatives

The U.S. EPA estimates that natural gas transmission and storage activities account for about 7.5 percent of all domestic methane emissions. Methane is the primary component of natural gas and is considered a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide.

  • Dominion is partnering in a nationwide field study led by Colorado State University to quantify methane emissions from natural gas transmission and storage systems. As part of the study, we provided historic emissions and operating data to complement measurements taken by the research team during the second half of 2013. Study results are expected to be released during the second half of 2014.
  • Dominion Transmission, Inc., our natural gas pipeline and storage business, has joined the EPA’s Natural Gas STAR Program. This voluntary partnership between government and industry was created to reduce methane leakage and emissions to the environment. DTI has adopted a number of best practices from the program guidelines to document and lower methane emissions at the company’s facilities.


Reducing Our Carbon Footprint Minimizing Carbon Intensity