- Wide-ranging plan is proposed under the Natural Gas Innovation Act, a recent landmark state energy law
- Proposed projects expected to reduce carbon emissions, promote job creation and leverage millions of dollars in federal clean energy funding
MINNEAPOLIS, June 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP), Minnesota's largest natural gas utility, today proposed a wide-ranging set of innovative projects to reduce carbon emissions and advance a cleaner energy future in Minnesota. The proposal includes projects to promote made-in-Minnesota alternative gases such as renewable natural gas and green hydrogen, as well as pioneering technologies such as a networked geothermal district energy system and end-use carbon capture.
The projects are part of a five-year innovation plan submitted under a recent landmark state energy law, the Natural Gas Innovation Act (NGIA). Passed with bipartisan support in 2021, NGIA created a new regulatory framework for natural gas utilities to invest in renewable energy resources and innovative technologies that help reduce Minnesota's greenhouse gas emissions.
The proposed plan requires approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) through a review process that is expected to take about one year.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more than two-thirds of Minnesota households depend on natural gas for heating, as do many businesses and industries in the state. CenterPoint Energy provides natural gas service to more than 910,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Minnesota.
"Natural gas utilities continue to be indispensable to meeting Minnesota's energy needs," said Christe Singleton, CenterPoint Energy's Vice President, Minnesota Gas. "CenterPoint Energy looks forward to the opportunities made possible by NGIA that will allow us to pursue multiple pathways to reduce or avoid emissions while continuing to provide the safe, reliable and cost-effective energy that our customers count on every day, especially during the coldest days."
CenterPoint Energy's innovation plan is expected to deliver significant benefits to Minnesota, including:
- Reduce or avoid an estimated 1.2 million tons of carbon emissions over the lifetime of the projects – equal to the annual energy use of about 150,000 homes or 14% of total emissions from natural gas supplied to CenterPoint Energy customers in Minnesota each year;
- Create an estimated 3,000 full-time equivalent jobs over the lifetime of the projects; and
- Leverage $17 million or more in federal clean energy incentives and support for Minnesota.
The plan includes 18 pilot projects and seven smaller research-and-development projects. These projects will deploy and evaluate a broad array of innovative resources and technologies. Key pilot projects include:
Made-in-Minnesota gas alternatives
Under NGIA, at least 50% of an innovation plan's total investments must be dedicated to procurement or distribution of certain alternative gases. CenterPoint Energy proposes investing in low-carbon, zero-carbon and even carbon-negative energy resources that can supplement or replace conventional natural gas, including:
- Renewable natural gas (RNG): RNG is produced by capturing and recycling organic waste materials from farms, food waste, wastewater treatment facilities and other sources to produce pipeline-quality gas. CenterPoint Energy would purchase RNG for its gas supply, reducing lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions attributed to the energy used by customers. The proposal includes obtaining RNG through requests for proposals (RFPs), as well as from a planned Hennepin County organics recycling facility in Brooklyn Park and a similar planned facility for the Ramsey/Washington County organics recycling program.
- Green hydrogen: Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen using renewable electricity. It can be blended into the utility's natural gas supply or used directly in a dedicated system with an industrial or large commercial customer. CenterPoint Energy already has a green hydrogen pilot project online in Minneapolis and the plan proposes a second facility, powered by a dedicated solar array, on CenterPoint Energy property in the Mankato area.
Networked geothermal system
CenterPoint Energy would develop a networked geothermal system to provide building heating and cooling to a neighborhood currently served by the utility. A geothermal system uses a network of wells, water, pipes and pumps to pull heat out of the ground to deliver warmth to buildings in winter and to pump heat from those buildings back into the ground to provide cooling in summer.
The plan includes proposed incentives for homeowners and businessowners to install hybrid heating systems that use electric heat pumps with gas backup heating for the coldest weather. The plan would also evaluate new weatherization strategies to prevent energy waste and reduce emissions through deep energy retrofits of homes and construction of high-performance commercial buildings.
The plan proposes incentives and other support to industrial customers to improve efficiency and reduce emissions for high-heat processes such as glassmaking, concrete production and metal foundries. Electric heat pumps may be suitable for low-to-medium heat processes, while technologies such as carbon capture or green hydrogen may be needed for processes not amenable to electrification.
The total proposed budget for all projects is about $106 million over five years. If cost recovery is approved by the PUC, the estimated impact would be less than $1.50 on a typical residential monthly utility bill.
CenterPoint Energy is committed to a cleaner energy future by reducing carbon emissions, including a company-wide Net Zero goal by 2035 for Scope 1 and certain Scope 2 emissions. In addition, the company is committed to helping its residential and commercial customers reduce emissions from their end use of natural gas by 20-30% by 2035 (from a 2021 baseline). The total emission reductions under this Scope 3 goal are comparable to those for the company's combined Scope 1 and 2 Net Zero goals.
To learn more about the Natural Gas Innovation Act and CenterPoint Energy's proposed innovation plan, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/NGIA.
About CenterPoint Energy, Inc.
As the only investor owned electric and gas utility based in Texas, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) is an energy delivery company with electric transmission and distribution, power generation and natural gas distribution operations that serve more than 7 million metered customers in Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas. As of March 31, 2023, the company owned approximately $38 billion in assets. With approximately 9,000 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 150 years. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com.
Forward Looking Statement:
This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in this news release, the words "anticipate," "believe," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "forecast," "goal," "intend," "may," "objective," "plan," "potential," "predict," "projection," "should," "target," "will," "would" or other similar words are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions of management which are believed to be reasonable at the time made and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual events and results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Any statements in this news release regarding future events, such as approval by the PUC of CenterPoint Energy's innovation plan, CenterPoint Energy's ability to executed on the innovation plan, including the proposed scope of projects and anticipated benefits, including extent of carbon emission reductions and the number of jobs created by the innovation plan, the extent to which and timing of CenterPoint Energy's ability to recover costs to implement the innovation plan, the amount and expected impact to customer's bills, and any other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Each forward-looking statement contained in this news release speaks only as of the date of this release. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the provided forward-looking information include risks and uncertainties relating to: (1) the impact of pandemics, including the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) financial market conditions; (3) general economic conditions; (4) the timing and impact of future regulatory and legislative decisions; (5) effects of competition; (6) weather variations; (7) changes in business plans; (8) continued disruptions to the global supply chain and increases in commodity prices; (9) legislative decisions, including tax and developments related to the environment such as global climate change, air emissions, carbon and waste water discharges; (10) CenterPoint Energy's ability to execute on its initiatives, targets and goals and operations and maintenance goals and (11) other factors, risks and uncertainties discussed in CenterPoint
Energy's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, CenterPoint Energy's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2023 and other reports CenterPoint Energy or its subsidiaries may file from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Net Zero Disclaimer
CenterPoint Energy's Scope 1 emissions estimates are calculated from emissions that directly come from its operations. CenterPoint Energy's Scope 2 emissions estimates are calculated from emissions that indirectly come from its energy usage, but because Texas is in an unregulated market, its Scope 2 estimates do not take into account Texas electric transmission and distribution assets in the line loss calculation and exclude emissions related to purchased power between 2024E-2026E. CenterPoint Energy's Scope 3 emissions estimates are based on the total natural gas supply delivered to residential and commercial customers as reported in the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Form EIA-176 reports and do not take into account the emissions of transport customers and emissions related to upstream extraction. While CenterPoint Energy believes that it has a clear path towards achieving its net zero emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2) by 2035 goals, its analysis and path forward required it to make a number of assumptions. These goals and underlying assumptions involve risks and uncertainties and are not guarantees. Should one or more of our underlying assumptions prove incorrect, CenterPoint Energy's actual results and ability to achieve net zero emissions by 2035 could differ materially from its expectations. Certain of the assumptions that could impact our ability to meet its net zero emissions goals include, but are not limited to: emission levels, service territory size and capacity needs remaining in line with company expectations (inclusive of changes related to the sale of CenterPoint's Natural Gas businesses in Arkansas and Oklahoma); regulatory approval of Indiana Electric's generation transition plan; impacts of future environmental regulations or legislation; impacts of future carbon pricing regulation or legislation, including a future carbon tax; price, availability and regulation of carbon offsets; price of fuel, such as natural gas; cost of energy generation technologies, such as wind and solar, natural gas and storage solutions; adoption of alternative energy by the public, including adoption of electric vehicles; rate of technology innovation with regards to alternative energy resources; CenterPoint Energy's ability to implement its modernization plans for its pipelines and facilities; the ability to complete and implement generation alternatives to Indiana Electric's coal generation and retirement dates of Indiana Electric's coal facilities by 2035; the ability to construct and/or permit new natural gas pipelines; the ability to procure resources needed to build at a reasonable cost, the lack of or scarcity of resources and labor, the lack of any project cancellations, construction delays or overruns and the ability to appropriately estimate costs of new generation; impact of any supply chain disruptions; changes in applicable standards or methodologies; and enhancement of energy efficiencies.
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SOURCE CenterPoint Energy, Inc.