Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions
With a commitment to protecting the environment and fighting climate change, we regularly calculate and publish our carbon footprint. Our objective is to reduce the carbon footprint of our activities by at least 20% by 2030 compared to 2009 levels, in line with our CSR policies.
GRDF has carried out several lifecycle analyses since 2009 in order to calculate:
direct methane emissions from the network into the atmosphere (from leaks or damage to our installations, for instance),
direct and indirect emissions resulting from mobility (covering our fleets of vehicles, business travel and employee commuting),
indirect emissions relating to energy consumption in buildings we occupy,
indirect emissions generated by purchases, waste and assets.
By including all indirect emissions, GRDF is going further than the current regulations for greenhouse gas audits in France.
The gas infrastructures of all gas operators in France accounted for 0.24% of greenhouse gas emissions nationwide in 2016.
Understanding our greenhouse gas emissions
According to the most recent carbon audit, carried out in 2015, GRDF’s activities generate 682,000 t CO2 eq. annually, which represents only 0.16% of France’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, a performance that reflects the efficiency of the gas network. The figure does not take account of greenhouse gas emissions generated by end-customers’ gas consumption, which total approximately 100 Mt CO2 for the whole of France.
The sources of our residual greenhouse gas emissions are principally linked to three items that represent 97% of the carbon audit: methane emissions from the network, mobility and the energy consumption of buildings. In all three areas, we are implementing actions aiming to reduce our emissions. The GRDF audit is due to be updated in 2020 on the basis of data for 2019.
Reducing our methane emissions
The major part of our greenhouse gas emissions are linked to methane emissions from the network.
The gas network has a high efficiency level of over 99.8%, but a small quantity of methane (roughly 0.13 to 0.16 % of volumes delivered) is directly released to the atmosphere each year. These emissions can result from maintenance works on the network (e.g. purging of pipes) or from incidents causing leaks (e.g. damage caused by works carried out in proximity to the network).
GRDF has developed an innovative calculation methodology with the CRIGEN research center. Departing from the usual statistical approaches, it relies on representative data relating to the network structure, yearly maintenance operations and incidents. This annual evaluation makes it possible to establish and manage efficient safety and environmental action plans in order to reduce emissions.
Methane emissions from the network totaled 22.64 kt of CH4 in 2019, roughly 1% of all methane emissions in France.
We have been committed for many years to decreasing the methane emissions of the network, not only to mitigate our negative environmental impact but also for safety reasons.
The excess flow valve: an innovation to stop methane leaks
GRDF believes in developing new technologies to improve the level of safety of the gas distribution network and avoid methane emissions. In partnership with the Research and Innovation Center for Energy (RICE), we developed the excess flow valve (DPBE). This is an innovative device that can be safely installed without excavation on existing service lines, and which will automatically cut off gas distribution in the event that damage occurs.
Excess Flow Valve (DPBE)
Mobility and buildings
We have set up sustainable mobility plans at our main sites in order to reduce and optimize our travel, encourage alternative modes of transport and develop the use of NGV and BioNGV. Not only will these actions help us reduce our carbon footprint, they will also help to decrease atmospheric pollution.
With regard to the buildings we occupy, we have launched initiatives to control energy consumption, through the choice of the most energy efficient buildings possible, better energy management practices and ensuring that our own purchases of gas and electricity include a renewable energy component.
At the same time, we are actively contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions outside the scope of our carbon audit: supporting customers in energy efficiency, rolling out smart meters that allow better control of gas consumption, supporting the development of biomethane and BioNGV, etc. While our own carbon balance stands at roughly 700,000 tonnes, the total potential savings in greenhouse gas emissions generated by the combustion of gas could amount to 56 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in the coming decades.