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Our environmental commitment

 

Throughout our history, we have been strong environmental stewards. We’ve pioneered new power plant technology, set the bar for emissions levels and built infrastructure ahead of current standards. We do more than talk, and as we look to the future, we know sharing our intentions for improving the climate will help us achieve them.

    Electric

    Our goal is to reduce our electric utilities’ greenhouse gas emissions intensity 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2040 as compared to 2005. We have already lowered our emissions intensity by 25% and know we can achieve our goals using the technology available today. We will expand our strategy of investing in cost-effective renewables and new technologies to further reduce our environmental impact across all states, while continuing to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy to customers.

    We operate the cleanest electric utility in Colorado, with an all-renewable and natural gas generation fleet. Our Colorado electric utility has achieved an approximate 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2005 and is on track to reach 80% reduction by 2030.

    Electric: Based on GHG intensity as compared to 2005 levels for our electric utilities, generation segments and purchased power.

    Natural gas

    We’ve cut our emissions intensity by over a third since 2005 and commit to achieving a 50% total reduction in our natural gas utilities’ greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 2035.

    With nearly 99% of our natural gas infrastructure comprised of pipeline materials with the lowest emission factors and no cast iron pipe remaining, we operate a system that exceeds industry averages. To achieve our goals, we’ve committed to the EPA’s Methane Challenge and will replace all remaining unprotected steel pipe within the next 15 years. In addition, we’re pursuing renewable natural gas and technology advancements to provide even cleaner energy solutions for the future.

    Natural gas: Based on fugitive emissions GHG intensity as compared to 2005 levels for our natural gas distribution system, including main and service pipelines.

     

    sustainability

    Renewable energy

    Our renewable energy portfolio continues to grow and support further greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions.

    wind energy
    solar energy
    renewable natural gas
    electric vehicles
    planting trees

    Research and technology

    In addition to renewable energy, we’re continually innovating to find new ways to lower emissions, like partnering with the University of Wyoming on a coal-fired flameless pressurized oxy (FPO) combustion research project. If the proposal is accepted by the Department of Energy, Black Hills Energy will host a large-scale pilot at our Gillette, Wyo. energy complex, aimed at advancing new technology to cost effectively utilize coal with little to no emissions.

    We’re currently supporting research through the Gas Technology Institute which aims to lower methane emissions from gas purging practices using vacuum technology. We’re also actively investigating hydrogen battery storage, hydrogen fuel usage with combustion turbines and fuel cell technology.

    We believe energy efficiency programs and technologies have an important role to play in the future and are proud to have achieved a second consecutive annual ENERGY STAR award from the EPA for our energy efficiency program.