Climate Change

Topics of Importance Energy & Climate Change

Management Approach


The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee of Enbridge’s Board of Directors oversees policies, practices and risk management related to our CSR and sustainability performance, including climate change, carbon management and energy use.

Our Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)’s role is to provide oversight at an enterprise-wide level on all of our CSR strategies and activities. This role reflects our belief that CSR and sustainability are fundamental to our business strategy, and that they create value for our shareholders and stakeholders.

Our CSO is responsible for meeting overall business and sustainability goals and has a mandate to increase our level of engagement, both internally and externally, in discussions regarding how we should deal with the impact of climate change in our decision making and investments. Our CSO's responsibilities are tied to short-term monetary incentives, which include: meeting environment and climate change policy objectives; and disclosure and communication goals in the CDP, Dow Jones Sustainability Index and other voluntary rating and ranking disclosures. For more information, please see the Government Relations & Lobbying section of this report.

Our CSO also has a mandate to provide strategic advice to the Board and Executive Leadership Team (ELT) on energy and carbon issues and to expand collaboration across our value chain on these issues with key external stakeholders.

From a corporate perspective, our CSO also provides strategic advice to both the Board and the ELT on regulatory risks and stakeholder perspectives related to climate change, and reports quarterly to the CSR Committee of the Board.

Our Government Relations and Law and Regulatory Affairs departments monitor regulatory trends so we can proactively position ourselves to address potential challenges and opportunities that emerge on climate change. We also hold memberships with numerous industry associations and think tanks that help us to identify emerging trends and seek collaborative solutions.

Climate Policy

In 2015, we consulted internally and externally on our role in the transition to a lower-carbon future, and used the feedback we received to update our corporate climate policy. In our updated Climate Policy, we identify the actions we are taking to manage climate risks and respond to opportunities. These include:

  • reducing our own carbon footprint and integrating climate considerations into key business processes such as risk management, business development, investment review and supply chain management,
  • growing our renewable energy business,
  • expanding the use of natural gas to make access to lower-carbon energy more feasible,
  • promoting and enabling energy efficiency and DSM,
  • collaborating with others to achieve progress on shared climate and energy challenges, and
  • supporting the climate and energy goals established by governments in the jurisdictions in which we operate.

The Influence of Climate Change on our Business Strategy

Our business strategy is informed by the following priorities:

  • our focus on safety and operational reliability,
  • successful execution of our current capital investment and operational plans
  • securing our longer-term future, in part by developing new platforms for growth and diversification, and
  • maintaining our foundation with employees and communities.

We have incorporated climate change into these key priorities in a variety of ways:

Investments in Renewable and Alternative Energy

We have incorporated climate change into our key priorities through our investments in renewable and alternative energy. Since 2002, we have invested nearly $5 billion in green power generation projects in Canada, the U.S. and the UK. Together our renewable and alternative energy projects represent nearly 2,800 (MW) of gross renewable generating capacity. Of this total, we own about 1,900 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity.

Our renewable and alternative energy business is diverse and includes a variety of energy sources and delivery systems. We are one of Canada’s largest renewable energy producers and, in the U.S., we are a growing renewable energy player with investments in wind, solar and geothermal. In 2015, we acquired a 24.9 percent interest in the 400-MW Rampion Offshore Wind Project in the UK for approximately $750 million, and a 100 percent interest in the 103-MW New Creek Wind Project in West Virginia for approximately US$200 million. We are also investing in a wide range of alternative energy projects, including waste heat recovery and run-of-river power generation, and are exploring technologies to store renewable energy. For more information, please see the Renewable & Alternative Energy section of this report. [provide links]

Growth in Natural Gas Infrastructure

Natural gas will continue to play an important role in the transition to a lower-carbon economy. As such, we are investing in expansion projects within our natural gas distribution franchises. Recently, our Gas Distribution business segment (GD) evaluated natural gas’ competitiveness as a fuel source (in comparison to fuel oil or propane) under a market mechanism for carbon, such as the cap-and-trade approach, which is anticipated to be implemented in Ontario as early as January 1, 2017. As part of its evaluation, GD assigned the theoretical price of $200 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO2e)—much higher than the forecasted $18 per t CO2e for the first few years of the Ontario cap-and-trade market—to determine how that price would impact commodity prices. GD determined that, even at that theoretical price, natural gas would still be a lower-cost alternative to fuel oil, propane or electricity.

Investments in Technologies that Support a Lower-Carbon Future

We look for opportunities to invest in technologies that support a lower-carbon future. One example is our investment in Hydrogenics Corporation, a utility-scale energy storage technology; another is our investment in Temporal Power, a developer of an innovative flywheel technology. These investments are aimed at improving the economic effectiveness of intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar. For more information, please see the R&D and Innovation section of this report.

Demand-Side Management

We continue to help our natural gas utility customers manage their energy use through a comprehensive portfolio of DSM programs. For more information, please see 2015 Performance in this section of the report.

Planning for Extreme Weather Events

We include planning for extreme weather events in our operational response plans, and have installed on-site emergency generators at several of our operational facilities to provide power in the event of extended outages (during ice storms, for example). In addition, because we operate significant infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico region (both onshore and offshore), and because there is a risk that these assets could be impacted by hurricanes, where possible, we have relocated our onshore assets to higher ground. Our offshore platforms are, for the most part, self-secured and have received minimal damage from past storms. To minimize weather-related risks, we have retained the services of a weather-service vendor to help track weather patterns, especially during hurricane season. We also factor weather-related risks into our decisions on insurance coverage.

Target Setting for GHG Emissions

We recognize that, for us to play a leadership role in the transition to a lower-carbon future, we must take a proactive approach to reducing our own carbon footprint. Setting and achieving enterprise-wide targets for GHG reductions, including those that we met in 2005 and 2010 demonstrates a commitment to managing our own climate risk. In addition, addressing our own carbon footprint supports the achievement of emission reduction goals set by Canada, the U.S. and other governments in jurisdictions in which we operate.

Considering that our business segments vary significantly in their emissions profiles, risks and opportunities, we believe that, to be meaningful, we will achieve further gains through plans that we implement at the business-segment level. Accordingly, we are reviewing our current and projected GHG emissions and energy consumption profiles to develop multi-year carbon and energy efficiency plans and goals on a business-segment basis. These new targets will apply to both Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) GHG emissions. Our work in this area is supported by our Emissions Data Management System, which enables us to track our emissions and to comply with emissions reporting requirements in Canada and the U.S.

Stakeholder Engagement and Collaboration

We attach a high value to engaging with stakeholders on climate change issues, and actively participate in the climate change-related activities of various industry associations, think tanks and governments. We also proactively engage stakeholders regarding the climate change implications of our projects and operations.

Ontario – Throughout 2015, representatives from GD regularly participated with Ontario members of the Canadian Gas Association in consultations with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) to discuss the implementation of a cap-and-trade system in Ontario and the expansion of GHG reporting in the province. Discussions focused on how the natural gas industry can help Ontario meet its 2020 and 2030 emission reduction targets through initiatives such as:

  • GD’s DSM offers that help consumers improve the efficiency of their buildings, and
  • greening the natural gas grid through renewable natural gas, and programs that help the transportation sector switch to natural gas fueled vehicles.

For more information, please see 2015 Performance in this section of the report.

Alberta – In 2015, our CSO served on the Alberta government’s five-member Climate Advisory Panel, whose mandate was to review Alberta’s existing climate change policies, engage with Albertans and provide Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks with recommendations on how to reduce the province’s GHG emissions. The panel delivered its report to the government in November 2015, and on November 22, 2015, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan, a new climate change strategy based on the panel’s recommendations. Details of the final strategy are being developed, but there are four key areas that the Alberta government is moving forward on:

  • phasing out coal-generated electricity and developing more renewable energy,
  • implementing a new carbon price on GHG emissions,
  • a legislated oil sands emissions limit, and
  • deploying a new methane emission reduction plan.