PSEG Joins UN 'Race to Zero' Initiative, Commits to Science-Based Emissions Reduction Targets
October 19, 2021 -- PSEG announced this week that it has joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C and the Race to Zero campaigns and commits to developing science-based targets. The Race to Zero and Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaigns are designed to help mobilize support from businesses, cities, regions and investors for a healthy and resilient zero-carbon economy in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
'Climate change is one of the preeminent challenges of our time, and PSEG has an obligation to help address climate change and its effect on our environment, our customers and communities around the world,' PSEG Chairman, President and CEO Ralph Izzo said. 'As part of our vision of achieving net-zero emissions by 2030, PSEG has already made significant emissions reductions in our operations. Today, we are taking the next step by joining the Race to Zero and committing to develop science-based targets to help address the worst effects of climate change, particularly for vulnerable populations.'
Also this week, PSEG launched its combined 2021 Sustainability and Climate Report, available here, with updates on the company's achievements and goals for a wide range of topics including air emissions, energy efficiency, transportation and waste minimization. In 2020, PSEG's generation portfolio emission rates for NOx and SO2 were down year-over-year by 58% and 77% respectively, reflecting emission rates that are significantly below industry averages. The report also includes updates on biodiversity commitments and support for environmental justice and diversity, equity and inclusion across PSEG's many diverse stakeholder groups and communities.
Climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy present opportunities and risks for PSEG. As a combined 2021 Sustainability and Climate Report, this document also dives into the potential physical and transitional risks of climate change to help PSEG better plan and prepare for the changes ahead, including actions taken to achieve the company's recently announced net-zero climate vision for 2030.
'Year after year, we are experiencing new weather extremes as the evidence of climate change around us grows. Reducing the most devastating impacts of climate change while increasing resiliency will require a concerted effort by all sectors of the economy,' Izzo said. 'At PSEG, our value creation process combines the responsible use of natural resources, technology and our workforce to deliver the energy that sustains the modern economy. Our combined 2021 Sustainability and Climate Report contains our progress to date, commitments for the future and the changes that will be needed to meet our goals.'
The report provides updates on PSEG's progress across a range of sustainability categories.
Targets and commitments
Air emissions: PSEG is significantly reducing air and other emissions by updating its operations and transitioning to cleaner sources of energy, and already has one of the lowest emissions rates among investor-owned power producers, according to MJ Bradley's Benchmarking Air Emissions report, July 2021. As of 2020, PSEG has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 54% since 2005 through switching to lower-carbon fuelsii, improving energy efficiency and modernizing our electricity and natural gas networks, among other strategies.
Energy efficiency: PSEG's energy efficiency targets have been updated and remain on track. New Jersey regulators approved $1 billion of energy efficiency spend for the three-year programs, designed to help the state achieve its updated framework for energy efficiency and peak demand reduction programs, setting five-year savings targets of 2% for electric distribution and 0.75% for gas distribution companies. PSEG's targets are aligned with New Jersey's Clean Energy Act (2018), which calls for these savings to be achieved by 2023.
Transportation: PSEG aims to reduce fossil fuel use in its own transportation fleet through vehicle electrification, right-sizing the fleet and utilizing renewable fuels. By 2030, PSEG aims to convert its passenger vehicles, such as sedans and SUVs, 60% of medium-duty vehicles and 90% of heavy-duty vehicles to battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids or anti-idle jobsite work systems.
Waste minimization: Companywide, waste and recycling programs successfully diverted 95.5% of material from landfills in 2020. Our ongoing goal for our utility, PSE&G, is to focus on new waste streams for recycling, which will continue to decrease landfill tonnage. The waste minimization goal for PSE&G is to divert in excess of 95% of material from landfills.
Biodiversity: PSEG is committed to promoting and enhancing biodiversity through natural resource conservation while continuing to operate in a safe and reliable manner. PSEG long ago recognized the need to foster biodiversity, starting with establishing the Estuary Enhancement Program in 1994 and continuing to today as we work to foster the unique species that call our region home, such as golden-winged warblers, ospreys, wood turtles and the frosted elfin butterfly. Protection of our natural resources and biodiversity drive our environmental philosophy and the planning process considers the potential impacts on regional biodiversity.
Diversity, equity and inclusion: From inside the company, to our suppliers, to out in the community, PSEG continues to foster diversity, equity and inclusion, driving change at all levels. PSEG has a target of 30% of total applicable spending allocated to diverse suppliers, including minority-, women-, veteran- and LGBTQ+ owned suppliers. During 2020, PSEG had a sixth consecutive record-setting year by buying more than $644 million worth of goods and services from diverse suppliers, a 15% increase over 2019. More than 28% of our company's purchases were with diverse vendors. And PSEG is helping develop New Jersey's clean energy workforce through innovative training and development programs, emphasizing low- to moderate-income and underrepresented communities.
Environmental justice: PSEG's approach to the transition to a low-carbon economy is a holistic one, which entails considering how to do so in a just and equitable way. PSEG is developing an environmental justice commitment in support of the many diverse communities it serves across the region and believes such a commitment should convey the importance of centering environmental justice considerations across our organization so that our customers – especially those in underrepresented communities – can benefit from the coming changes of a decarbonized future.
Supporting the regional economy
PSEG's investments in critical energy infrastructure serve as an important economic engine. In 2020, PSEG invested nearly $2 billion with other New Jersey-based firms, driving the regional economy as those businesses and suppliers provide additional jobs in the region. PSEG's nuclear plants in South Jersey contribute $1.2 billion to New Jersey's annual GDP.
In April 2021, PSEG completed its acquisition of a 25% ownership interest in Ocean Wind 1. The 1,100-megawatt offshore wind farm is New Jersey's first and part of the state's goal to develop 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035. Ocean Wind 1 is expected to power roughly 500,000 homes, generate $1.17 billion in economic benefits and create more than 300 direct jobs annually, or an estimated 15,000 jobs over its lifetime.
Source: PSEG / PRNewswire
Upcoming Events of Interest from SGO:
2nd Long-Duration Energy Storage Forum, November 16-17, 2021, 100% Virtual
Webinar: Performance-based Ratemaking -- The future utility regulatory model, November 30, 2021
8th Annual Demand Response & Distributed Energy Resources World Forum, December 7-8, 2021 in San Diego
6th Annual Smart Cities Technology Symposium & Exhibition, January 18-19, 2022, Chicago
14th Microgrid Global Innovation Forum - North America, February 15-16, 2022, Sacramento
15th Microgrid Global Innovation Forum - EMEA, April 12-14, 2022, London