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PG&E Sustainability Report: Plant CO2 Emissions Up 31%

Power plants operated by Pacific Gas & Electric increased their absolute carbon emissions almost 31 percent year-on-year in 2011, according to the company’s latest sustainability report.

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.

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