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US DOE announces steps to help modernise natural gas infrastructure

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The White House and the Department of Energy (DOE) have hosted the fifth in a series of meetings on reducing methane emissions from natural gas systems. To address methane leakage from natural gas systems, DOE announced steps to help modernize the nation’s natural gas transmission and distribution systems.

Following the meeting, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz announced several new initiatives as DOE’s part of the larger Administration strategy: “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.

“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 emissions”.

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% of natural gas in the US. 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 modernising natural gas infrastructure: Following discussion with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Cheryl LaFleur, Secretary Moniz has recommended that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) looks at ways to provide greater certainty for cost recovery for new investment in modernisation 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 modernisation and repairs to natural gas distribution networks, with DOE providing grant funding and technical assistance to help inform decision making by state utility commissioners.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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