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GHG Emissions Reductions

Safety & Environment

GHG Emissions Reductions

We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and firmly support efforts by local, state, and federal agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We have reduced our carbon emissions by 54% since 2005. Sixty percent of Con Edison’s annual steam production comes from co-generation, which lowers emissions by one million tons of carbon dioxide, CO2, per year compared to conventional fossil generation. We continue to report voluntarily to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on our efforts to lower emissions of sulfur hexafluoride, SF6, from our electrical equipment, and we worked with Electric Power Research Institute to develop a new SF6 leak sealing technique. We are a founding partner in the EPA’s Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program with the aim of reducing methane emissions from gas distribution. We work with experts and seek out new methane leak detection technology to enhance the efforts of our leak survey crews and conduct monthly leak inspections of our entire gas mains system. As part of our ongoing efforts, we continue to accelerate the replacement of leak prone pipe, and respond to the vital warning signals provided by our residential methane detectors.

We are installing smart meters in our service area, providing the ability to optimize energy usage and improve efficiency which helps lower carbon emissions.

Con Edison, Inc. Direct GHG Emissions - Scope 1 (thousand metric tons CO2e)

8,000
6,000
4,000
2,000
2005
0
1,944
404
3,591
2006
1,037
1,418
397
3,121
2007
1,163
999
392
3,419
2008
1,777
615
385
3,196
2009
2,177
416
376
3,004
2010
2,051
247
373
3,302
2011
2,592
184
368
2,829
2012
2,666
179
346
2,782
2013
2,611
171
293
2,898
2014
2,769
164
283
2,757
2015
2,789
132
276
2,776
2016
2,880
107
267
2,719
2017
2,958
83
259
2,673
2018
2,905
75
250
2,743
2019
3,066
83
239
2,585
2020
3,232
65
230
2,446
  • Avoided Emissions Compared to 2005 Baseline
  • SF₆ Emissions
  • Methane Emissions
  • CO₂ Emissions

Scope 1: Direct greenhouse gas emissions from CEI-owned or controlled sources (e.g., steam generating stations)

33.4 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent total emission avoided since 2005

• We have reduced our carbon footprint by 51 percent since 2005 – the equivalent of taking 500,000 vehicles off the road

• Note: Emissions from electric generation at the Con Edison Development electric generating plants, which were sold in 2008, have been removed from the above data set.

INDIRECT EMISSIONS

Indirect emissions – Scope 2 (million metric tons CO₂e)

Other indirect emissions or Scope 3 total (million metric tons CO₂e)

2020

0.92

29.5

2019

1.16

32.5

2018

1.24

35.0

2017

1.35

33.9

2016

1.32

41.1

2015

1.32

41.8

2014

1.09

40.9

2013

1.19

N/A

2012

1.11

N/A

2011

1.51

N/A

2010

1.37

N/A

2009

1.42

N/A

Scope 2: Indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with delivering products to customers (e.g., electrical transmission losses)

Scope 3: Indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with customers using CEI products (e.g., customers’ use of delivered gas)

Steam Environmental Efforts

Steam Environmental Efforts - ConEdison Employees workingWe provide customers with FDA-quality steam, of which 60% is co-generated. Because the steam is co-generated, customers can apply for points toward their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and increase their score in Energy Star’s portfolio manager. Our co-generated steam reduces carbon emissions by approximately 25% of what would have been otherwise emitted through traditional boilers—that is equal to removing approximately 200,000 vehicles from the road every year.

Our customers also benefit from the advantages of a centralized district steam system which reduces onsite emissions. These centralized investments benefit all customer buildings. The ability of the district system to aggregate a wide variety of customer load profiles also allows for a higher average efficiency than what can be achieved at a single location. All these benefits are reflected in the most recent NYC Local Law 97, where our district steam system was identified as the lowest greenhouse gas emitting energy source per unit of energy delivered.

In alignment with the city’s and state’s commitments to significantly reduce greenhouse gases by 2050, we are evaluating all opportunities that could help lower our environmental footprint. We acknowledge that business as usual is not and cannot be the way of the future to achieve these goals, which is why we are taking a more forward-thinking approach, conducting research and evaluating opportunities for more efficient generation and customer programs, while leveraging existing and emerging technologies.

To continue supporting our customers in a changing environment, Steam Operations has been proactive in several efforts, such as benchmarking with other district systems in cities that are leveraging their district energy networks to achieve their carbon reduction goals. Steam Operations has also established an initial list of carbon-reduction technologies to evaluate and determine the feasibility of implementation with the existing steam system. These technologies include alternative fuel sources, production via electric boilers with renewable energy, expanding and/or converting to hot water systems, wasted heat recovery sources, and other emission reduction technologies.

Steam Operations has also been an active member in discussions and studies as regulations and city and state plans evolve.

Energy Efficiency Customers' Emissions

Please refer to the Energy Efficiency section under Customer & Community.

Reduction of SF6 Emissions

In accordance with a 1999 memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Con Edison, we agreed to reduce our emissions of SF6 gas (sulfur hexafluoride) by 5% annually from our 1996 baseline. In 2020, we released about 98% less SF6 than in 1996, well ahead of our commitment to the EPA. SF6 is a nontoxic, nonflammable greenhouse gas, with a warming potential more than 22,000 times higher than carbon dioxide, that can remain in the atmosphere for up to 3,200 years. There is no viable alternative to SF6, which is a highly efficient insulating medium and arc extinguisher used throughout the energy industry in different types of equipment, including high-voltage breakers and gas-insulated switchgear. Limiting emissions will contribute to a cleaner environment and help to reduce global warming.

Con Edison highly values environmental excellence. While we have greatly reduced our emissions in the past decade, we are striving to continue to reduce our emissions even lower. We established a 5 year plan at the start of 2020 to reduce emissions by 500 pounds annually. This is a rate of more than 5% annually from the current levels. In the first year (2020), we have achieved our goal.

To reduce SF6 emissions we use varying programs and a dedicated team to address leaking equipment in a timely matter. We have several targeted programs to replace or retire SF6 equipment, including circuit breakers, automatic ground switches and gas-insulated switchgear. Also, the dedicated team constantly monitors the emissions of all equipment daily using a tracking software program to enable quick and efficient repairs of trouble equipment. The team then uses best management practices, including innovative new leak sealing techniques to make the necessary repairs, as well as handling the gas properly with minimal emissions.

Con Edison, Inc. Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2020 (million metric tons CO2e)

  • CO2on
  • CH4on
  • SF6on
  • OTHERon

Gas Environmental Efforts

Con Edison performs gas leak surveys that far exceed the survey interval requirements prescribed by federal and NY state regulations for identifying natural gas leaks on a timely basis. And to continuously improve our leak survey process, we seek out new leak detection technology. For example, we are currently working with Colorado State University—an expert on methane emissions—to evaluate leak detection technology and to enhance the performance of our survey crews.

Methane Challenge

In 2016, Con Edison joined 40 other local distribution companies as a founding partner in the EPA’s Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge. The goal of this program is to reduce methane emissions by replacing a significant number of natural gas mains. Our participation in this program was a natural extension of our participation in the Natural Gas STAR program, which we helped found in 1993.

The Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge is an EPA/partner company collaboration that promotes and tracks ambitious, transparent commitments to voluntarily reduce methane emissions beyond regulatory requirements.

Our goal is to replace 4% of our cast iron and unprotected steel mains each year. Since 2017, we have replaced 342 miles of such main, which represents an average replacement rate of 4.5%. The Company also performs monthly leak surveys of the entire distribution system to proactively detect methane emissions and make associated repairs to the gas system. Con Edison is an industry leader in repairing 85% of all gas leaks within 60 days, including leaks considered to be non-hazardous. In addition, Con Edison is looking into several initiatives to meet New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act targets of having 85% carbon emissions reductions by 2050. Recently, the Company joined 36 other natural gas companies in the ONE Future Coalition to reduce industry methane emissions to 1% or less by 2025. We are also exploring new tools and technologies that would aid in mitigating emissions during normal operations, and continue to conduct field trials of enhanced leak detection technology.

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