DETROIT – DTE Gas will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 — from procurement through delivery, the company announced last week.

In addition, DTE Gas will be amplifying this net zero commitment by partnering with customers to address up to 100% of their own natural gas carbon footprint with programs that encourage energy efficiency and participation in the company’s voluntary emissions offset program.

This innovative plan sets a first-of-its-kind goal among gas delivery companies and significantly expands DTE Gas’s 2018 commitment to reduce methane emissions by 80%. The company’s net zero commitment, combined with customer participation in sustainability programs offered by DTE, would reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 6 million metric tons by 2050. This reduction is the equivalent of offsetting the natural gas emissions of 1 million homes or taking 1.3 million cars off the road annually.

“Climate change is one of the defining public policy issues of our time and it demands a bold response,” said Jerry Norcia, president and CEO of DTE Energy. “The level of impact urgently needed can only be achieved by viewing the challenge through a holistic lens, bringing our suppliers and our customers on the journey with us. This is the right plan for our environment, for our customers and for our communities.”

The three-fold approach includes:

  1. Working with suppliers: DTE Gas will require its suppliers to operate at net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This action by DTE Gas will help drive an industry-wide movement toward cleaner natural gas production, resulting in significant reductions in methane and CO2 emissions.
  2. DTE Gas operations: DTE Gas will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 through new operational improvements and carbon offsets, while continuing to provide its customers with safe, reliable and affordable energy. DTE Gas’s current main renewal program and infrastructure modernization efforts will reduce both methane and combustion-related emissions from the company’s operations. In addition, the company will invest in a combination of renewable natural gas and carbon offsets, such as biosequestration, the process of capturing and storing carbon in living organisms such as trees.
  3. Partnering with customers:  The company will encourage customers to reduce their own emissions through energy efficiency programs. In addition, the company is enhancing its voluntary emissions offset program to allow customers to reduce up to 100% of their usage emissions through renewable natural gas and carbon offsets. Over time, DTE Gas will also leverage advanced technologies, such as hydrogen and carbon capture.

“I’m pleased to see that DTE is committing to a plan that includes suppliers and customers in their net zero commitment,” said Michigan House of Representatives Democratic Leader Christine Greig. “DTE’s plan reflects the proactive thinking that is necessary to combat climate change and ensure a sustainable future for our state.”

The Michigan chapter of the global environmental nonprofit, The Nature Conservancy, is similarly supportive of the plan.

“We applaud DTE’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions in their gas operations, for it is an important step toward reducing Michigan’s carbon footprint,” said Helen Taylor, Michigan director of The Nature Conservancy. “We know that nature can provide powerful solutions and we look forward to working with DTE to identify and implement as many of those solutions as possible.”