New Energy Ventures
At Williams, we are committed to making clean energy happen. Our people, asset footprint and ability to successfully adapt as a business over the last 100 years has established a strong foundation to deliver clean, affordable and reliable energy well into the future.
As one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in the United States, we see firsthand the critical role natural gas plays in a viable and sustainable low-carbon future. Natural gas-powered electricity generation enhances reliability of the U.S. electric power grid and allows for growth in renewable forms of energy. Natural gas is also a ready-now solution to reduce emissions while meeting demand for clean energy.
In 2021, we launched Williams New Energy Ventures, a business development group focused on commercializing innovative technologies, markets and business models. New Energy Ventures collaborates with talent across Williams to evaluate and implement projects to grow our clean energy business.
Guiding principles prioritize our areas of focus and investment
While we continue to focus on immediate opportunities anchored in our natural gas assets to reduce emissions, scale renewables and build a clean energy economy – we will also look forward and anticipate future innovations and technologies. We will use the following guiding principles to prioritize our areas of focus and investment.
- Achieve carbon reductions for ourselves, our customers and partners – We are focused on reducing emissions across our assets. Since 2005, we have reduced our emissions by 44% and are on our way to meeting our 2030 goal of a 56% reduction. To achieve our low-carbon aspirations, we will collaborate with our current customers and new partners to reduce emissions. Our relationships across the natural gas supply chain provide opportunities to work with industry to achieve emissions reductions and build new sustainable business for a low-carbon future.
- Create economic value with actionable investments – We are starting with projects such as solar installations adjacent to our operations to reduce emissions and deliver economic benefits. We will expand these opportunities while looking to invest in future clean energy projects and carbon abatement instruments. Many future opportunities that can deliver scalable emissions reductions are not economically feasible today. We will work to enable the required technology, regulatory and market innovations to deliver financial returns from these emerging opportunities. As we see technology and market mechanisms mature, we will expand our investments to grow our economic value.
- Target opportunities where our midstream competencies and infrastructure provide strong competitive advantages – As a premier energy infrastructure company, we have experience building, operating and maintaining major infrastructure to move, store and deliver energy on demand. We will use our natural gas-focused strategy, our infrastructure capabilities, technical competencies, project capabilities, financial depth and relationships to accelerate the clean energy future. We are a credible partner with the structure, processes and people to put new energy ideas into practical application, and then deploy at scale.
- Provide scalable options for the future – To match the size of the challenge and opportunity our clean energy future presents, we must focus on scalable opportunities. We will scope a wide range of opportunities to create options for our larger ambition for the future. We will structure our participation so that we can start with smaller investments and then scale into future growth.
Advocating for Clean Energy
Our climate commitment supports the shared aspirations of our customers, community partners and governments. The scale of the global climate challenge requires all stakeholders to work together to innovate and develop the needed infrastructure. We are engaging with customers, industry partners and governments to collaborate on ideas and opportunities to accelerate our clean energy future to help them achieve their sustainability goals. Our industry partnerships include:
- Greentown Labs
- Renewable Natural Gas Coalition
- Zero Carbon Hydrogen Coalition
- Clean Hydrogen Future Coalition
- Natural Gas Star Program
- Colorado State’s Methane Emissions Technical Evaluation Center
- Pipeline Research Council International
- The Environmental Partnership
- League of Conservation Voters
We understand that energy needs are local and distinct, and that many clean energy projects require government incentives to reach risk-adjusted returns. Economics will matter for change at scale, and for equitable adoption. We are working with industry associations, regulators and governments to advocate for consistent policies that support retrofitting, siting and construction of clean energy infrastructure.
Projects Creating Near-Term Value
We are delivering projects to create near-term value and demonstrate our commitment to a clean energy future.
- Energy Efficiency – Our business units are reducing methane emissions with leak detection and repair, work practice improvements and evaluating equipment upgrades on a site-specific basis. We are planning, developing and executing projects to update our gas networks. Our modernization program bundles a variety of initiatives ranging from large horsepower replacements to valve-actuator efficiency improvements.
- Solar – Our solar program creates an opportunity to offset current electricity usage at existing facilities by building photovoltaic solar systems behind the meter. Our solar team is currently developing 16 solar projects totaling approximately 375 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity that would offset approximately 16% of Williams facilities’ total estimated annual energy demand. We anticipate that the first projects will go in-service in 2023. In addition to lowering electricity costs on the system, these facilities will generate renewable energy credits that can either be sold into the market or retired to offset Scope 2 emissions.
- RNG – Renewable natural gas (RNG) is a low-carbon or negative-carbon substitute for fossil-derived natural gas that is typically produced from landfill waste, municipal water treatment facilities, livestock farms or food waste operations. Our RNG program includes constructing new interconnects and pipeline extensions, as well as investments in RNG production. These investments will generate environmental attributes that can either be sold into the market or retired to offset our own emissions.
- Lower-carbon Gas Products – We are working with our customers and new partners to offer lower-carbon products, including carbon-offset and responsibly sourced gas. Carbon-offset natural gas is a bundled product of natural gas with an obligation to retire voluntary carbon offsets on behalf of customers. This is a low cost, scalable product that helps customers reduce the carbon footprint of their natural gas purchases. Responsibly sourced gas certifies that the natural gas was produced and transported with low emissions across the value chain. These products provide scalable options to lower the emissions footprint of natural gas from the wellhead to the water or end-user.
New Energy Ventures
Our plan to reduce emissions and innovate for the future.
CCUS – Our Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) Development Program provides opportunity for natural gas to play a larger role in the clean energy future. CCUS reduces emissions by removing carbon dioxide from point sources and either adapts it for further beneficial use or stores it permanently underground. Williams already captures CO2 at some of our gas processing and treatment plants in some states.
Participating in the CCUS value chain can reduce the emissions of our own and our customers’ operations. We can use our core competencies of project execution and safe operations to develop the significant infrastructure required to capture, transport and sequester CO2. To participate in the build-out of a CO2 economy, we will be exploring:
- Capture at existing Williams gathering and processing assets, compressor stations and customer facilities
- Repurposing existing, underutilized transmission assets for CO2 service
- Sequestration partnerships to ensure captured CO2 will be sequestered permanently
- Building, owning and operating greenfield CO2 infrastructure
Hydrogen – Our Hydrogen Development Program creates an opportunity for Williams to play a role in developing a new market with significant growth potential. We are experts at treating, processing, storing and transporting gas. This experience and our asset base provide opportunity to scale the hydrogen economy. We are actively working on projects such as:
- Blending hydrogen into our existing transmission lines
- Clean hydrogen production from natural gas with CCUS (blue hydrogen) and from electrolysis with renewable power (green hydrogen)
- Utilizing hydrogen blends as fuel for our turbines and compressors to reduce Scope 1 emissions Developing hydrogen pipelines
- Developing hydrogen storage solutions
- Producing synthetic methane, or renewable natural gas, from clean hydrogen combined with captured CO2
Renewable Power Generation and Transmission – Our Renewable Power Generation and Transmission Program explores how we could apply our experience building and operating critical natural gas infrastructure to the clean power space. As our participation in the power segment grows with our solar program, we will explore synergies including:
- Offshore Power Transmission – Williams has a long history of success in the Gulf of Mexico. Our in-house engineering, operations, commercial and regulatory resources create an opportunity to explore a new offshore midstream business to connect offshore wind supplies to onshore networks. We will explore reusing existing offshore platforms and infrastructure for clean energy production.
- Onshore Power Infrastructure – Some of our clean energy concepts are being developed in areas without expansive power infrastructure. We will look for opportunities to integrate power supply chains wherever efficiency is generated.
Clean Energy Hubs – Our clean energy hub exploration includes working with partners to create economies of scale and meaningful emissions reductions. Many of these emerging opportunities have significant overlap and synergies with each other and our core natural gas business.
We are exploring concepts including a Williams Wyoming Energy Hub to integrate renewable power, hydrogen, captured CO2 and methanation into our existing assets. Wind and solar power can drive electrolysis and green hydrogen production which can be combined with captured CO2 to create synthetic methane in a process known as methanation. This concept balances the intermittency of wind and solar power to create a dispatchable, clean molecule to meet energy demand.
Other projects include potential CCUS hubs with multiple partners working together to gather CO2 emissions at scale. Due to the immense capital investment required and the complex nature of carbon capture project execution, CCUS hubs are the primary approach to achieve economies of scale and meaningful emissions reductions.
Our blue hydrogen hub scoping initiative includes exploring the possibility of producing and transporting large volumes of hydrogen created from natural gas with carbon capture and storage or use.
Corporate Venture Program – We are developing a corporate venture program to invest in innovation. Corporate venturing and partnerships with startup incubators, such as Greentown Labs, demonstrates our commitment to innovation by fostering technologies at the forefront of the energy transition. There are numerous options for participating in this space, including:
- Direct investments into start-up companies
- Participation as a limited partner in a fund set up specifically to invest in low-carbon technologies
- Joining a syndicate of other like-minded companies with net zero ambitions to fund the development of technical solutions for decarbonizing energy intensive products or services
Carbon Markets – Our Carbon Markets Program will build our knowledge and capabilities in environmental markets. To improve carbon reduction efficiency, we will optimize environmental credits, including Renewable Energy Certificate (RECs) from solar, Renewable Identification Number (RINs) from RNG and carbon offsets generated from our own carbon reduction activities. As we advance our projects, we will have options to use the environmental attributes for our own carbon reduction goals or sell the environmental attributes to generate returns and help our customers reduce their emissions. Understanding these markets will help us mitigate risk. While we pursue opportunities in these areas, we are also scoping new and emerging ideas, including battery storage, energy efficiency innovations and many others. Our process ensures that target opportunities align with the guiding principles – reduce carbon, create value, competitive advantage and scalability.
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