PSE honored for greenhouse gas reductions

Puget Sound Energy was recently honored as a recipient for the first time of the 2008 Natural Gas STAR Continuing Excellence award. Presented to PSE by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the award recognizes the utility for its five years of continued excellence in greenhouse gas reduction achievements related to natural gas operations.

Since 2003, PSE’s Gas Star team, which is led by two employees – Steve Hopkins, manager system controls and protection, and Brenna Davis, senior environmental scientist – from the utility’s Natural Gas Operations and Environmental Services departments, has been participating in EPA’s Natural Gas Star Program, which focuses on methane emission reduction from natural gas distribution, transmission and production.

“Puget Sound Energy is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Bert Valdman, executive vice president and chief operating officer for PSE. “We are proud that the EPA is recognizing the years of effort our employees have put in to reducing methane emissions through increased efficiency from our natural gas operations.”

Winners were chosen based on a company’s submissions of annual reports detailing a high level of performance, according to the criteria used for Partner of the Year. PSE’s reports detailed the activities the team performed to improve the operational efficiency of the natural gas system and reduction of natural gas loss. They also showed the emissions reductions through implementation of a variety of technologies and practices.

Much of PSE’s reductions have been achieved by replacing cast-iron and bare steel pipelines. PSE’s cast-iron replacement program ran from 1992 through 2007. During that time, the utility replaced 287 miles of pipe (dating as far back as 1896) with plastic pipe and steel wrapped pipe. The bare steel replacement program is expected to be completed in 2014. To date, PSE has replaced 68 miles of pipe.

The Gas Star team has formed partnerships with other PSE departments to expand the Natural Gas Star Program and look at new methods that could be employed to improve the system and continue to reduce natural gas loss and emissions.

“This achievement and our commitment going forward to include others throughout the company is a great demonstration that PSE employees are dedicated to the greening of our community and working toward a higher level of environmental stewardship,” added Valdman.

In addition to receiving the Natural Gas STAR Continuing Excellence award this year, PSE also has been recognized by the EPA as one of the top 10 Green Power program providers since 2004 and as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year in 2006.

For more information about PSE’s natural gas system and commitment to the environment, please visit