Environmental Social Governance
SGA Awards recognizes companies leading the charge to accelerate ESG and deliver quantifiable results.
In December, Atmos Energy published its annual Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CRS) Report to further enhance transparency with stakeholders. The CRS report details our commitment to preserving and protecting the environment, fueling safe and thriving communities, and strong governance along with our significant investments in employees, infrastructure, and safety. This transparent account of our ESG accomplishments is valued by all stakeholders including elected officials and city staff, investors, vendors, and community partners as well as our 4,700 employees and 3 million customers. ESG highlights include:
Atmos Energy’s most recent Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CRS) Report was published on December 17, 2020 and was:
Validating our approach, Atmos Energy was named to Newsweek’s 2021 list of America’s Most Responsible Companies based on publicly available key performance indicators presented through our CRS Report and an independent survey. Newsweek conducted a detailed analysis beginning with a pool of over 2,000 companies that were screened by a variety of criteria. Then an independent survey was conducted among more than 7,500 U.S. residents along with research-based on publicly available key performance indicators derived from Corporate Annual Reports, CSR Reports, Sustainability Reports, and Corporate Citizenship Reports.
CenterPoint Energy has been utilizing an integrity- and risk-based asset replacement program for several years to identify and prioritize assets for replacement throughout its eight-state territory. This multi-decade, capital replacement program efficiently allocates our capital resources to replace more than 20,000 miles of distribution main across our service territory with more modern materials that will reduce emissions and increase the safety and reliability of our system. CenterPoint Energy leverages Picarro surveying technology to enhance our leakage surveys and enable us to detect potential leaks to a greater degree than traditional leak survey technology and methods. To date, CenterPoint Energy has leveraged our existing data points (including, but not limited to, leak history, historical operator knowledge, infrastructure material properties, and infrastructure age) to develop our models that assess risk to asset integrity. While safety, integrity, and reliability have been the foundation of our replacement prioritization of the assets identified in these risk models, we still had opportunities for further prioritization of capital expenditures, and this has generally been met with local expertise and knowledge. However, we had to ask ourselves if we were leveraging the vast amount of data in our repositories and the technology we’ve deployed to further streamline and enhance our analysis. In 2019, CenterPoint Energy leveraged our existing partnership with Picarro to utilize existing detection methods employed in the Picarro Surveyor to quantify the emissions being detected. This emissions quantification (EQ) data has proven extremely valuable in isolating portions/segments of identified replacement assets that have greater emissions. This is especially valuable when developing the phases of construction projects over a large area and which phase will be the most advantageous starting point. Asset-level risk models and heat map leak cluster models look backward over a period of time of completed leak data to guide us on selecting high-risk assets for replacement. Picarro EQ allows for a more forward-looking check of the system to estimate emissions and allow for additional risk prioritization with that third data set in project selection.
Our Texas operating region began collecting this data in 2019 and was first utilized in 2020 for modernization project selection, which proved valuable in reallocating resources from areas recommended for replacement but had lower emissions than others of equivalent assessment. With this new EQ data, we were able to prove these areas could be monitored on an appropriate schedule and shift capital resources to those that could not. The usage has expanded in 2020 and 2021 to other states within the CenterPoint footprint as the process develops further. This data affords CenterPoint Energy the opportunity to not only enhance our asset replacement priorities but also introduces the opportunity to monitor and track our emissions reduction and support our Corporate ESG initiatives.
In an effort to reduce emissions and mitigate the company’s impact on climate change, in 2020 Summit Utilities, Inc. (Summit) piloted methane recapture technology in two states. Summit’s teams challenged themselves to be innovative leaders in the natural gas industry and pursued studying the feasibility of methane recapture technology as a 2020 ESG goal. Thanks to the pioneering spirit of Summit’s engineering and operations teams, they determined that not only was the technology feasible it was worth trying that very year. To minimize social and environmental impact, Summit utilized Zero Emissions Vacuum and Compression (ZEVAC ®) to capture and reuse gas that would otherwise have been emitted into the atmosphere through normal construction/operation practices.
These pilots demonstrated a step forward for the company as it works to reduce emissions on its system and limit its environmental impact. By simply piloting this technology twice, Summit was able to save approximately 28.1 metric tons of CO2e, which is equivalent to taking 6 cars off the road for one year.
As a result of this pilot program, methane recapture was included in Summit’s Standard Operating Procedure for Purging a Pipeline. All high-volume purges must now consider methane recapture, if practical.