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Black Hills Energy announces updated clean energy target for natural gas utility system in newly released sustainability report | Kansas

LAWRENCE, KS – Sept. 14, 2022 – Black Hills Energy announced today an updated clean energy target to further reduce methane emissions associated with its natural gas utility system. The “Net Zero by 2035” target is among the highlights featured in the company’s newly released 2021 sustainability report addressing environmental, social and governance priorities, plans and achievements. 

“We are pleased to share our progress to create a cleaner energy future for our customers and the ways Black Hills Energy is making a positive impact in our communities,” said Jerry Watkins, general manager, Black Hills Energy. “Our sustainability report provides insight and transparency into every aspect of our company – not just in what we do, but in the values-driven way we do business.”

“Our Net Zero target by 2035 builds on our natural gas system safety and integrity initiatives and expands upon strategies underway to strengthen our system such as advanced leak detection and expanded damage prevention efforts,” added Watkins. 

The new target doubles and replaces the company’s previous commitment of a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) intensity for mains and services by 2035 and expands the scope of the goal to include all sources of methane emissions in the company’s distribution system. This includes pipeline mains and services, damages, blowdowns, transfer stations, meters and pressure relief valves. The goal boundary of the target is defined as Scope 1 by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Other highlights include: 

  • Carbon offset renewable natural gas (RNG) advancements: In 2021, the company developed a voluntary RNG and carbon offset program to help residential and small business natural gas customers offset 100% or more of the emissions associated with their own natural gas usage. In July 2022, Black Hills Energy was the first natural gas utility in Kansas to propose the offering. The company is also seeking approval for similar programs in Colorado and Nebraska. It hopes to offer the program to all customers by 2023.
  • Caring for the community: In 2021, the company’s community support in Kansas totaled $486,000 including $147,000 in contributions and sponsorships, $94,000 in economic development funding, $52,000 in United Way contributions and $178,000 in energy assistance to help families in need. 
  • Creating value: The company’s investment in the safety, reliability and sustainability of its extensive utility systems delivers meaningful growth and sustains jobs, families and communities. In 2021, Black Hills Energy’s direct economic impact in Kansas totaled $63 million. 

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