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Duke Energy – one of the largest US energy holding companies – has prioritised reducing methane emissions as part of its clean energy transformation. The company recognised an opportunity to lead its industry and set an ambitious goal for its natural gas utility business to achieve net-zero methane emissions by 2030.

To realise this goal, Duke Energy developed an innovative, end-to-end solution built on Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Dynamics 365 that delivers new ways to detect, monitor and remediate methane emissions.

Industry-wide challenges to accurate, timely emission monitoring

Historically, natural gas utility assets such as pipelines and meters have been difficult to monitor on a frequent basis, so emissions reporting has relied on calculated estimations. As the company explored new detection and monitoring methods, it sought a rigorous approach that would lay the foundation for leak detection, emissions measurement, expedited remediation, and predictive ongoing maintenance. Duke Energy brought in Accenture, Avanade – a joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft – and Microsoft to co-innovate a pioneering solution that would help meet its ambitions and potentially advance industry and regulatory standards.

Creating a first-of-its-kind methane emissions monitoring and remediation solution

The new platform monitors baseline methane emissions from natural gas utility assets. It ingests data from satellite monitoring and ground-level sensing technology that can detect methane emissions that previous technology might not identify. Analytics and AI are applied to rapidly assess the data and provide near-real-time insights. With pinpoint-accurate geolocation data, workers can deploy near-real-time leak remediation.

Accelerating the achievement of net-zero methane emissions for the energy industry

Once scaled across all asset types, emission categories and jurisdictions, the platform will help Duke Energy’s natural gas business reduce methane emissions and achieve net-zero methane emissions by 2030. Importantly, this solution has the potential to accelerate the journey to net-zero emissions across the entire natural gas supply chain, from production facilities to mid-stream pipelines to local utilities.

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