LINCOLN, Neb. -- Black Hills Energy announced today an updated clean energy target to further reduce methane emissions associated with its natural gas utility system. The “Net Zero by 2035” target is among the highlights featured in the company’s newly released 2021 sustainability report addressing environmental, social and governance priorities, plans and achievements.

“We are pleased to share our progress to create a cleaner energy future for our customers and the ways Black Hills Energy is making a positive impact in our communities,” said Kevin Jarosz, Black Hills Energy’s Vice President of operations in Nebraska. “Our sustainability report provides insight and transparency into every aspect of our company – not just in what we do, but in the values-driven way we do business.”

“Our Net Zero target by 2035 builds on our natural gas system safety and integrity initiatives and expands upon strategies underway to strengthen our system such as advanced leak detection and expanded damage prevention efforts,” added Jarosz.

The new target doubles and replaces the company’s previous commitment of a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) intensity for mains and services by 2035 and expands the scope of the goal to include all sources of methane emissions in the company’s distribution system. This includes pipeline mains and services, damages, blowdowns, transfer stations, meters and pressure relief valves. The goal boundary of the target is defined as Scope 1 by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“On the electric side of our business, which serves customers in Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming, we have already achieved over a one-third reduction in GHG intensity since 2005, reaching a nearly 10% reduction since announcing our goal in 2020,” said Jarosz. “We have plans in place today to achieve our corporate climate goals calling for a 40% reduction in GHG intensity from our electric utility operations by 2030 and 70% by 2040.”

Other highlights include:

Advancements in renewable natural gas (RNG): In Nebraska, the company has partnerships to accept RNG in Butler, Dawson, Lancaster and Sarpy counties and recently agreed to accept RNG from the Papillion Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Bellevue. 2021, the company developed a voluntary RNG and carbon offset program to help residential and small business natural gas customers offset 100% or more of the emissions associated with their own natural gas usage. The company filed for approval to launch these programs in three states and seeks to offer the program to all customers by 2023.

Caring for the community:  In 2021, the company’s community support in Nebraska totaled more than $633,000 including $189,000 in contributions and sponsorships, $138,000 in economic development funding, $127,000 in contributions to the United Way and $150,000 in energy assistance to help families in need.

Creating value: The company’s investment in the safety, reliability and sustainability of its extensive utility systems delivers meaningful growth and sustains jobs, families and communities. In 2021, Black Hills Energy’s direct economic impact in Nebraska totaled $114 million.