PG&E Sustainability Report: Plant CO2 Emissions Up 31%
In 2010, the company produced 1,545,892 metric tons of CO2 equivalent. In 2011 this figure jumped to 2,024,206. The increase of roughly 500,000 metric tons of CO2e stems from the opening of a new generating station that produced around 764,000 metric tons of CO2e in 2011, along with a shuttering of the company’s Humboldt Bay power plant, which produced around 276,000 metric tons of CO2e in 2010.
For its 2011 emissions, PG&E began reporting the greenhouse gases from natural gas supplied to customers. Emissions from this source totaled over 39 million metric tons of CO2e in 2011, the report says.
The company says it is committed to meeting California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requirement to deliver 33 percent renewable energy by the end of 2020. By the end of 2011, 19 percent of the electricity PG&E delivered to its customers came from RPS resources, primarily from contracts with renewable energy companies, the report says.
Overall, PG&E has contracted for more than 10,000 MW of RPS-eligible energy since the start of the program in 2002, including more than 9,900 MW contracted through the end of 2011, the report says.
In terms of renewable energy owned by the company, 2011 saw PG&E bring three solar projects online in Fresno County – the 15 MW Westside Solar Station, 20 MW Stroud Solar Station and 15 MW Five Points Solar Station. The company is working to develop new solar generation sites of between one and 20 MW at or near existing PG&E power generation sites.
The PG&E plant that withdraws the most water is the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The facility, which uses saltwater in a once-through cooling system, withdrew over 863 billion gallons of saltwater in 2011. This is just under 1 percent more water than the previous year, the report shows. Diablo Canyon is a 2,240 MW plant with a maximum discharge limit of 2.5 billion gallons per day.
Diablo Canyon is also the company’s largest user of freshwater. Its freshwater use increased about 5.4 percent year on year, from around 138 million gallons in 2010 to 145 million gallons in 2011. In 2011, 132 million gallons of the freshwater used at the plant was the product of seawater reverse osmosis – a process that turns saltwater into freshwater. For PG&E’s freshwater withdrawal figures from 2008-2010 click here.
The percentage of the company’s waste that was diverted from landfill increased from 44 percent in 2010 to 71 percent in 2011, the report shows. In buildings and offices in 2011, the company achieved a 60 percent diversion rate. PG&E says it achieved this by ensuring bins were the right size, upgrading service, engaging employees and adding composting in 15 locations (see graph, below).
PG&E has a goal to reduce energy use by 15 percent in million metric BTUs at PG&E offices and service yards by 2014 from a 2009 baseline, equivalent to avoiding about 4,000 metric tonnes of CO2. In 2011, the company reduced its energy use by 4.8 percent – or about 383,150 MMBTUs – exceeding its 4.2 percent target for the year. In 2012, PG&E is seeking an additional 3 percent reduction, the report says.
In 2011, PG&E increased the number of projects involved in LEED certification to 13, as part of ongoing efforts to certify new buildings and large remodeling projects. Remodels in San Francisco and Santa Rosa, Calif., were included in the LEED rating system in 2011.
All of the company’s LEED projects include recycling 60 to 75 percent of construction waste; the use of low-flow and waterless plumbing fixtures to reduce potable water use by up to 40 percent; low or no irrigation for landscaping; and energy-efficient lighting, mechanical systems and controls.
In June PG&E said it would provide energy efficiency programs that will reach 30 million square feet of its commercial customers by 2015, as a Better Buildings Challenge Utility Ally. In March, PG&E topped a list of utilities making the highest investments in demand-side management. The company invested $586 million in demand-side management in 2010, according to rankings compiled by research firm Zpryme.
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