Satellites will identify and track methane emissions in near-real time, providing greater accuracy in data collection
Companies to begin pilot in Greenville, S.C. to refine technology
CHARLOTTE, N.C.; Aug. 23, 2021 – Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) today announced it is working with Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) on the development of a new technology platform designed to measure actual baseline methane emissions from natural gas distribution systems.
This unique platform will provide near-real time data collection, allowing Duke Energy’s field response teams to more rapidly identify and repair methane leaks.
The cloud-hosted platform will track and prioritize data associated with leaks using advanced detection methods such as satellites, fixed-wing aircraft and ground-level sensing technology. The new sensor technology can detect trace-levels of methane emissions that current technology may not identify. The new platform will augment the company’s drive toward net-zero methane emissions in its natural gas business by 2030.
As a part of this effort, the companies will execute monthly satellite captures in Greenville, S.C., beginning in August to further refine the technology for identifying methane leaks on Duke Energy’s pipeline system. Duke Energy anticipates implementing its methane-monitoring platform by October 2021.
Duke Energy began testing satellites for detecting leaks on its natural gas system in 2020. The company found satellite detection has the potential to be more accurate and an expedient way to locate leaks when compared to traditional leak survey methods such as aerial and foot patrols.
“This platform will reimagine how natural gas local distribution companies calculate methane emissions and perform leak surveys and improve the expediency in which leaks may be repaired, resulting in dramatically lower methane emissions,” said Brian Weisker, senior vice president and chief operations officer, natural gas at Duke Energy. “The current industry standard uses calculated data to report methane emissions, which leaves room for inaccuracies when it comes to actual methane levels.”
To help design the Microsoft Azure-based platform to handle a high volume of data from a variety of sources, Accenture – in collaboration with Avanade, its joint venture with Microsoft – will apply its experience in analytics, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. These technologies will help drive the insights from the platform for improving operations and delivering on the methane emissions goal.
“Our work with Duke Energy and Microsoft demonstrates how technology, innovation and artificial intelligence can help address sustainability challenges,” said Mark Schuler, a managing director in Accenture’s utilities practice. “Together, we can show others how to achieve their sustainability goals and make it an integral part of delivering value for all stakeholders, and not as one-off practices.”
“We are looking forward to contributing to this collaboration with Duke Energy, Accenture and Avanade in supporting Duke Energy’s progress to net-zero methane by 2030,” said Darryl Willis, Microsoft corporate vice president of Energy and Sustainability. “This is a great example of innovation and collaboration coming together to enable industries to more accurately detect, calculate and report on emissions and take action.”
Methane makes up nearly 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions every year, according to recent estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with the energy sector being one of the largest sources of U.S. methane emissions.
To learn more about Duke Energy’s climate goals, visit duke-energy.com/our-company/sustainability.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 7.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 27,500 people.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities — with goals of at least a 50 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is a top U.S. renewable energy provider, on track to own or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025. The company also is investing in major electric grid upgrades and expanded battery storage, and exploring zero-emitting power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2021 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
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