As an energy provider, socially responsible business and good neighbor, we at Summit Natural Gas of Maine are committed to being a partner in building a sustainable energy future in the communities we serve. To help us reach that future, we continually look for ways to reduce our carbon and methane emissions and promote sustainable and efficient energy use.Click here to read our Environmental Policy
Since coming to Maine in 2013, SNGME has invested more than $340 million to make natural gas available to customers throughout the Kennebec Valley, Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth. The company has also provided over $3 million in energy efficiency rebates to convert residential, commercial and large industrial customers from oil to natural gas using high efficiency equipment. Through these investments, we have reduced carbon emissions by an estimated 69,000 metric tons a year in Maine. This is a greenhouse gas avoidance equivalent to taking nearly 15,000 cars off the road.
In Maine, more than 60 percent of homes heat with oil. Heating with oil generates 27 percent more carbon emissions than heating with natural gas. Adding efficient equipment can reduce emissions by an additional 11 percent according to data from Efficiency Maine. In total, that means the typical customer switching from old oil equipment to natural gas and efficient equipment will reduce their carbon emissions by 38 percent. That’s a carbon avoidance of installing solar panels to meet the annual electric needs of two Maine homes.
In 2019, we matched 5 percent of our residential gas demand for one year by purchasing RNG attributes at no cost to our customers to help reduce our carbon footprint. In addition, we are giving our customers the opportunity to match 10 to 100 percent of their average annual gas usage through our voluntary RNG attribute programs by purchasing RNG attributes at a flat monthly rate. This program will help jumpstart the renewable biofuels market and spur investment in new technologies that mitigate one cause of climate change.
By participating in the voluntary U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Methane Challenge Program since 2016, we commit to transparently reporting our methane emissions and describing the systematic and comprehensive actions we are taking to reduce our methane emissions. Through this program, we make our system safer, reduce operational risk and increase efficiency. Beyond that, we also share information and best practices with our peers across the country to further enhance methane mitigation efforts industrywide.
We are a committed member of the ONE Future Coalition, an organization made up of energy companies from across the natural gas supply chain that are committed to achieving a science-based average rate of methane emissions across facilities equivalent to one percent or less of total natural gas production. With company leaders on ONE Future’s Board of Directors and other policy and technical committees, we work together to report emissions data, mitigation efforts and best practices with the goal of leading the industry to a sustainable path of lower emissions and more efficient operations. In 2019 we embarked on an Environmental Risk Assessment to ensure that we are doing everything we can to mitigate the impact our business makes on our communities and the environment.