Regulatory reporting is an increasingly complex and stressful task for many energy companies.
It is a struggle to keep up with evolving regulations and ongoing compliance needs. Plus the lack of real-time emissions data and forecasting insights makes it difficult for companies to capitalize on voluntary targets.
During a recent webinar, Corey Wood, Vice President of Emissions, Regulatory, & Carbon Strategy at Validere, explained how to get the most out of your compliance efforts by building a solid foundation of actionable, auditable data.
“If you can get to the bottom of your regulatory compliance and create an efficient and streamlined system, then you’re going to put yourself in a better position to capitalize on those opportunities that exist,” says Wood.
Here are five building blocks that are essential for efficient regulatory reporting.
1. Take a robust equipment inventory.
At the ground level, the first step for creating a streamlined system around regulatory reporting is taking a robust and comprehensive inventory of all equipment. This step is key to understanding where emissions are coming from at the lowest level of detail possible.
“Going out there and taking an inventory of all those equipment pieces that may consume fuel, may vent produced gas, vent fuel, or could result in flaring activities,” says Wood. “Getting all of those pieces into one location allows everyone to have a look, understand where those sources of emissions are, and ensure they’re accurate.”
2. Use accurate data to prioritize plans.
Using these equipment insights, you can then apply estimation methodologies and engineering calculations to create an accurate picture of your emissions baseline while satisfying regulatory reporting requirements. Knowing where the journey begins for your business informs what strategies to prioritize, like when and when not to use direct measurements.
“It’s going to give you the ability to prioritize and say it’s these compressors where I want to measure the compressor vent rates,” says Wood. “It’s these tanks that I need to use direct measurement to get a better understanding and to be more accurate with my emissions baseline.”
Having an accurate baseline is also essential to creating plans around fugitive emissions and knowing when it makes sense to implement new measurement technologies.
“There’s lots of great technology out there,” says Wood. “But again, these things need to be done in a sequence. If we rush out and try to adopt these technologies, we’re likely going to spend money in places that we don’t need to, increase the cost of our compliance, and also increase the cost of gaining an understanding of where our emissions are.”
3. Maximize your team’s potential with a comprehensive software solution.
Compiling, analyzing, and visualizing all of this data requires a comprehensive software solution that can provide clarity around emissions as well as help streamline reporting processes.
Utilizing a data-driven platform like Validere to quantify carbon baselines and optimize emissions measurements empowers environmental and regulatory teams, allowing them to focus more of their efforts on high-level activities instead of tedious manual tasks.
“When we bring in these different software technologies, what we’re really doing is empowering people to spend less time doing less valuable work — moving data around, working in Excel spreadsheets, those types of things,” says Wood. “These people become even more valuable in the roles they’re in when using these tools.”
4. Make insights actionable for everyone.
Traditionally, data for emissions reporting has been siloed, with only a specific person or department overseeing it. Today, however, there’s a growing need to make these insights accessible and usable for every team within a business.
“Now we’re seeing a lot of impetus for that information flowing across the organization,” says Tamar Epstein, General Counsel and Vice President, ESG, at Validere. “Marketing teams who might be looking at offsets, we have engineers that might be looking at emissions reductions in their projects, and all the way up to the C-suite where we might see executive compensation tied to achievement of emissions reduction targets.”
This is why it is essential to have a comprehensive software solution in place that can not only analyze and validate emissions data, but also visualize these insights and make them actionable according to each team’s unique needs. In addition to meeting regulatory obligations, compliance data can be leveraged for voluntary initiatives.
“So many companies are focused on getting their reporting done and just using their data for that purpose,” says Epstein. “But there’s a whole area where they can actually be capitalizing on opportunities, voluntary offsets, grants that are available.”
5. Provide more frequent views of data.
The final piece for efficient regulatory reporting is being able to view these insights on a more frequent basis. Real-time insights, coupled with forecasting and modeling, allows energy companies to plan more strategically around all initiatives that require an accurate view of emissions data.
“Historically, people have looked at this data on an annual basis,” says Wood. “Getting more frequent views of this data [allows you] to really track the progress toward what we were forecasting or what we were projecting we would achieve through either voluntary initiatives or regulatory-driven abatement projects.”
Watch our full webinar on the recipe for making regulatory reporting less stressful.