Dominion Energy, a Virginia-based power company that supplies power to thousands of people in Aiken County, has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions down to net zero in the next 30 years.
That pledge aims to specifically crack down on carbon and (especially) methane emissions – two major contributing factors to climate change – from its electricity generation and gas infrastructure operations.
Ashley Cunningham, a Dominion Energy public affairs specialist, said the company serves around 730,000 customers in South Carolina, of which over 56,000 are located in Aiken County.
As far as potential price increases from the pledge go, Cunningham said any potential increase caused by investing in clean energy would need to be measured against customer affordability.
"Customers expect a clean environment," said Cunningham in an email. "They also expect safe, reliable and affordable energy. We will deliver on all of those expectations. That means making the investments necessary to achieve net zero emissions in a careful, responsible way so our customer rates remain affordable."
In a press release sent out this week, Dominion laid out a general direction for how to achieve this pledge that would require "immediate and direct" action.
Among those actions, the company will extend licenses for its zero-carbon nuclear generation fleet and continue to invest in wind and solar programs, though the press release notes a need for legislative support and further technological advances in achieving its goal.
Dominion Energy has previously committed to lessening its environmental impact from natural gas operations and power generating facilities. According to the company, it has cut carbon emissions by about 50% since 2005 and methane emissions by 25% since 2010.
According to the press release, this renewed push toward net zero comes in part from the findings of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that reiterated a greater need for reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and from "increased expectations" from customers and employees alike who prefer a clean energy future.
Dominion serves more than 7 million customers across 18 states.