Virginia Natural Gas reduces carbon emissions through infrastructure modernization

Published on September 20, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) is reducing direct greenhouse gas emissions through the modernization of its existing natural gas infrastructure.

Through the company’s Steps to Advance Virginia’s Energy Program (SAVE), VNG is replacing aging pipes with new, more durable materials. The materials are not only less expensive to maintain, but they also help reduce methane emissions.

“At Virginia Natural Gas, the safe, reliable delivery of natural gas is our top priority as we continue to modernize our pipeline infrastructure throughout our service territory,” Robert Duvall, president of Virginia Natural Gas, said. “While our current system is safe and has performed well, as technology has advanced, it’s critical to continually upgrade our pipeline system. It is more important than ever to make progress in safety and environmental goals simultaneously, keeping our employees’ and customers’ interests top of mind while also contributing to nationwide and global environmental goals.”

Virginia Natural Gas got the go-ahead from the Virginia State Corporation Commission (VSCC) to expedite the replacement of aging infrastructure. The program allowed VNG to replace nearly 500 miles of the aging pipeline since the program began in 2012. This has resulted in a 27 percent reduction in methane emissions. Additionally, 100 percent of the system’s low-pressure cast iron pipeline was retired in 2018.

“The amount of pipeline we have replaced and upgraded in our system these past 10 years is the approximate driving distance from Virginia Beach to Savannah, Georgia,” Amanda Bouchonville, SAVE Program manager at VNG, said. “The new plastic pipes we are installing are more flexible and can better withstand our region’s weather extremes. Upgrading this infrastructure will result in reduced maintenance costs, enhanced system reliability, reduced emissions and increased safety for many years to come.”

A recent study by VNG’s parent company, Southern Company Gas, found that the use of the existing safe and reliable natural gas infrastructure is foundational to supporting a net-zero, clean energy future with the greatest consumer affordability.

Since 2019, VNG has invested nearly $184 million of the $360 million authorized on SAVE infrastructure projects, and this year.

“Our SAVE projects will allow us to continue to make substantial capital improvements to modernize our system to ensure safety, durability and reliability for our customers for years to come,” Duvall said. “Investing in our infrastructure is important to achieving meaningful environmental progress.”