TC Energy Deliberating Over The Greening Of Its Pipeline Operations

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TC Energy Deliberating Over The Greening Of Its Pipeline Operations

Tue, 08/03/2021 - 10:20
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TC Energy logo at the head office in Calgary, Canada (copyright by Shutterstock/Brett Holmes)
TC Energy logo at the head office in Calgary, Canada (copyright by Shutterstock/Brett Holmes)

Calgary based TC Energy, one of the leading energy infrastructure companies in North America with operations in natural gas and oil pipelines as well as power industries, could spend billions of dollars in the near future as it moves away from fossil fuel to run its transboundary network of oil and gas pipelines to renewable green energy.

Energy firms worldwide are trying to reduce the planet-warming emissions they pump out in the process of producing and transporting oil and gas. Canada's oil and gas industry is the country's largest emitting sector.

The company would likely significantly lower methane emissions in its near 100,000-km transportation system in North America, but it is still in the process of quantifying how many tons of carbon emissions would be saved by switching to renewables to power pipelines.  Corey Hessen, TC Energy's president of power and storage, said "the project is the best near-term opportunity for TC to play a part in the energy transition."

TC's decision to power pipelines with wind and solar, instead of natural gas, is similar to smaller-scale plans by rival Enbridge and would go some way toward meeting investor demands to improve its environmental performance.

The company received more interest than it expected when it asked renewable energy developers for information on 620 megawatts of wind-powered electricity to operate part of its Keystone pipeline, Hessen said. Developers submitted responses for 14 gigawatts (GW) of wind, more than 20 times TC's need, Hessen added.

It would take 5 to 7 GW to power the entire U.S. and Canadian pipeline network, he estimated. That compares with total installed wind power capacity in the United States of 118 GW, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

As for the system's potential cost, Hessen declined to discuss this for the renewable energy investment. But, he said, "TC Energy has a history of really going after and being successful with large-scale capital deployments for its infrastructure."

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