We have reduced our carbon footprint by 48 percent since 2005—the equivalent of taking more than 500,000 vehicles off the road—and we continue to support efforts by local, state, and federal agencies and entities to make further reductions. For example, we are working with New York City to convert as many buildings as possible from heavy fuel oil to cleaner natural gas. We added natural gas firing capacity as our primary fuel to two of our large steam facilities as well, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, we have worked voluntarily with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to reduce the emissions of sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6, from our electrical equipment.
Con Edison customers are reaping the benefits of the Company’s decision to modify two steam-generating stations in 2013 to burn natural gas as a primary fuel as opposed to No. 6 fuel oil. In 2015, the two stations combined saw a 26 percent reduction in CO2 emissions (approximately 166,000 short tons), compared to a 2008-09 average. In addition to this reduction in emissions, savings associated with burning less costly natural gas resulted in an approximate $96 million reduction in fuel costs, or an approximate 12 percent reduction in customer bills. All converted units remain capable of burning an alternate fuel in a supply shortage. This capability is particularly important to maintaining reliability and moderating price impacts during periods of high demand for natural gas.
Since 2015, we have paid out more than 34,600 rebates and incentives totaling over $60 million to our residential and commercial customers who upgraded their building equipment and system to be more energy efficient. These programs have saved 239,000 megawatt hours (MWh) and 419,000 dekatherms (Dth) resulting in the reduction of 159,000 short tons of carbon – the equivalent of taking 27,000 cars off the road.
We’re building on longstanding relationships with the customers and communities we serve to provide them with energy options that are safer, more reliable, and more cost efficient. Here are just a few examples from the past year:
We launched a program in New York City’s Hispanic community that allows small businesses in Washington Heights and Inwood to become more energy-efficient and save money on their bills.
Running a hot yoga studio doesn’t have to cramp your budget, as we showed a small business owner.
A family-owned Staten Island meat store known for its cold cuts and hot sausage asked for our help to become more energy efficient. See what tasteful changes we made.
We regularly offer incentives to customers who purchase eligible energy-efficient appliances for their homes. We give customers $75 for buying eligible high-efficiency refrigerators, $50 for dishwashers, $30 for air conditioners, and $20 for dehumidifiers. Owners of multi-family buildings with at least five residential units can qualify for incentives as well. The multi-family program provides incentives for upgrades to gas and electric equipment. Eligible projects include LED light fixtures, high-efficiency boilers, pipe insulation, roof insulation, and energy-management systems. Some 250,000 customers have lowered their usage and saved money since we started this program.
Find out more: http://www.coned.com/energyefficiency/
Over the past 10 years, we have significantly reduced emissions of sulfur hexafluoride, otherwise known as SF6, a greenhouse gas that has a global warming potential more than 22,000 times that of carbon dioxide. SF6 is a non-flammable, non-toxic gas that can remain in the atmosphere for up to 3,200 years. Currently, there is no viable alternative to SF6, which is a highly efficient insulating medium and arc extinguisher used throughout the energy industry in various types of equipment including high voltage breakers and gas insulated switchgear. However, limiting SF6 emissions is imperative for a cleaner environment.
Starting in 1999, in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding between the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Con Edison, we agreed to reduce SF6 emissions by five percent annually from a 1996 baseline. During 2015, we released about 95% less SF6 than in 1996. Our ability to reduce SF6 emissions resulted from maintenance programs to address SF6 gas leaks, upgrading equipment as well as instituting best management practices for gas handling and repairs. As part of our ongoing effort to further limit SF6 emissions, we established a Fix-It-Now team that emphasizes best management practices and prioritizing repairs. Learn more about the team:
As part of our ongoing effort to reduce our carbon footprint and sharpen our focus on natural gas safety, we’re working with the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) and other agencies to develop a program to identify and reduce emissions from small volume, non-hazardous leaks of methane gas. Currently, non-hazardous leaks are scheduled for repair based on the availability of resources and the leak’s proximity to other kinds of street-opening work. In 2015 and early 2016, we partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund to better measure non-hazardous leak emission rates and we are currently field-testing this new technology.
We are among the founding partners in the Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge program—a voluntary partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that aims to reduce methane emissions and improve air quality in a cost-effective way. The program, which includes 41 energy companies, was launched at the Global Methane Forum on March 30, 2016.
We’ve been a founding member of the Natural Gas STAR Program since 1993, so we welcomed the chance to participate in this new partnership.
Among our efforts toward a cleaner environment, we’re replacing cast iron and unprotected steel mains with plastic pipe, or rehabilitating those mains with plastic pipe inserts or liners.
CECONY is on pace to exceed its goal of replacing an average of 65 miles of cast iron and unprotected steel mains each year from 2014 to 2016. That exceeds the EPA’s best management practice. O&R is committed replacing 6.5 percent or 11 miles of main by 2016 and 10 percent by 2020. That also exceeds the EPA’s best management practice.