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Case study | Duke Energy

Keeping an AI eye on potent methane emissions



The amount by which methane impacts global warming potential more than carbon over a 20-year period.

A call for change

Ambitious goals spark interesting challenges

For Duke Energy, one of the largest US energy-holding companies, reducing methane emissions is part of its commitment to future generations.

The company set ambitious net-zero methane goals for its gas-distribution business for 2030. To achieve them, it would need to go above and beyond current US EPA regulations.

It explored innovative new approaches to detect, monitor and remediate emissions, such as using satellites. However, it needed help to develop a rigorous, end-to-end approach to monitor emissions and lay the foundation for predictive maintenance.

Two machinery workers looking at tablet
Two machinery workers looking at tablet

When tech meets human ingenuity

Harnessing the latest advancements—from satellites to AI—to curb emissions

Duke Energy brought in Accenture, Avanade—a joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft—and Microsoft to co-innovate a pioneering solution that would help meet its ambitions and potentially advance industry and regulatory standards.

The result is a first-of-its-kind, end-to-end Azure-based cloud platform that monitors baseline methane emissions from natural gas distribution assets (e.g., pipelines, gas meters), using satellite monitoring, analytics and artificial intelligence.

The solution quantifies and prioritizes findings in graphic dashboards, making data easily consumable at multiple levels of the organization.

This platform will reimagine how natural gas local distribution companies calculate methane emissions and perform leak surveys, and improve the expediency with which leaks may be repaired, resulting in dramatically lower methane emissions.

– BRIAN WEISKER, Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer – Natural Gas at Duke Energy

A valuable difference

Leaning on real-time insights to find leaks in minutes instead of days

Near real-time leak remediation will help Duke Energy to reduce methane emissions while making operational systems more resilient. The platform is already delivering results with more accurate, holistic insights for leadership decision-making.

With pinpoint-accurate geolocation data, workers are finding leaks in minutes compared to physical inspection of pipelines and other assets—and repairing them more quickly. The solution also has the potential to identify system vulnerabilities and prevent future leaks.

Once scaled across all asset types, emission categories and jurisdictions, the platform will help Duke Energy’s natural gas business reduce methane emissions and achieve its net-zero methane goals for 2030. Importantly, this solution has the potential to accelerate the journey to net zero for the industry.