Our Low Carbon Pathway

We believe NW Natural has an important role to play in helping our region move to a low-carbon, renewable-energy future. It’s why we've developed our Low Carbon Pathway, and it’s why we invite you to join us.

Today, natural gas is the cleanest energy option to reliably meet our region’s biggest energy needs. In fact, NW Natural delivers more energy in Oregon than any other utility, 1 yet our customers’ use of natural gas — in homes and businesses — accounts for 6% of Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions. 2

Still, we know that we can do even better. So, our mission is to work with all our stakeholders, from producers to policymakers and regulators to customers, on a voluntary carbon savings goal: 30% by 2035.

1 - Oregon Public Utility Commission, 2015 Oregon Utility Statistics Statbook. 
2 - State of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality In-Boundary GHG Inventory Preliminary 2015 Figures.

Oregon Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Source: Oregon DEQ In-Boundary GHG Inventory 2015 data.

Our Progress

We are on track to meet or exceed our voluntary carbon savings goal of 30% by 2035 associated with our own operations and the use of our product by residential and business sales customers from 2015 emission levels. In addition to the actions we have taken operationally, this voluntary goal has been a catalyst for us to lead beyond our walls by building public policy coalitions that support innovation and new thinking. And we’re proud of the progress we’ve made.

We have also established our vision forward to be a carbon neutral energy provider by 2050. 

Going beyond 2035: Destination Zero.

As we are making progress on our 2035 goal, we are evolving our thinking on what’s possible for our system based on promising advancements in renewables for the pipeline system

To achieve our goals, we will continue to look for reductions throughout the natural gas value chain, from producers to our own operations and customer use, to the transportation sector.

Our goals are focused on collective action to:

  • Lower the carbon intensity of the product we deliver using a mix of technologies and renewable energy sources.
  • Pursue energy efficiency and offset projects.
  • Replace dirtier fuels with clean-burning natural gas or renewable natural gas.
  • Keep it affordable by using our existing system — one of the most modern in the U.S. — in new, innovative ways.


Learn more about our carbon neutral vision at Destination Zero

Expanding the Possibilities

2016

NW Natural establishes a voluntary carbon savings goal of 30% by 2035 from 2015 emission levels. 3

2019

First-of-its kind Oregon RNG legislation passed that supports targets of up to 30%. NW Natural team travels to Europe to research efforts underway there to transform the natural gas networks to use decarbonized energy.

2020 and Beyond

Leverage renewables in our existing modern system along with other innovations to pursue a carbon neutral system for our sales customers by 2050. 

3 - This is an annual emissions savings goal equivalent to 30% of the carbon emissions from our customers’ gas use and company operations in 2015 

What About Washington GHG Emissions?

Our Clark, Klickitat and Skamania County customers’ natural gas use accounts for half a percent (0.5%) of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state. 4


4 - Washington Department of Ecology 2012 GHG Inventory

What Is Our Starting Point?

The baseline for our carbon savings goal is 2015 emissions associated with our customers’ gas use and company operations (4.6 million metric tons of CO2e).

How Do We Get There Affordably?

By using our existing pipeline system in new ways, we can help drive down emissions — and do it cost-effectively. We’ll start with lower cost reduction opportunities while we work with policymakers and regulators to support renewable energy development and technology innovations over time. As a regulated utility, we’ll need to earn the support of customer groups, policymakers and regulators to pursue new low-carbon solutions. We feel confident the Northwest will be a pioneer in driving these innovations forward in smart, affordable ways.

2019 ESG Report 

We’re proud of the progress we’ve made so far and excited about our plans to drive substantial climate benefits in the future. 

Learn more >>