Since 2000, we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars and honed our operating practices to reduce air emissions at our coal-fueled power plants, including nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and mercury (Hg). We are committed to spending nearly $720 million from 2011 through 2015 to ensure our existing fossil facilities reduce air emissions and improve water quality.
Emissions Reductions in the Northeast
|NRG owns and operates more than a dozen power facilities in the Northeast region of the United States, which include some of our oldest coal-fueled plants. Through a combination of switching to low-sulfur coal, installing advanced emissions controls like at our Indian River facility in Delaware, shutting down some older units and repowering others with cleaner technologies like at our Devon and Middletown plants, NRG's investments have paid off with significant reductions in emissions since 2000. With planned capital expenditures, the reductions will continue for years to come.|
NOx and SO2 Emissions Reductions
|At NRG, we know that the future lies with zero-emission sources of energy, such as nuclear, solar and wind energy. Our South Texas Project (STP) in Bay City, Texas, generates power for approximately two million Texas homes with no emissions at all. We are also exploring ways of reducing carbon emissions at our existing plants by using biomass as a fuel, which will also help reduce our emissions of NOx and SO2. Our recently completed environmental control projects at Huntley and Dunkirk and an ongoing project at Indian River, combined with shutting three other units at the Indian River facility, will significantly drive down Companywide NOx and SO2 emissions.|
Greenhouse Gas Reductions
|NRG's strategy includes repowering older facilities with new high efficiency units that produce far less greenhouse gas emissions per megawatt of electricity. As newer units come online, older units are placed on deactivated reserve or decommissioned, further reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. As these projects continue to be developed and come online, power produced from these sources will offset or displace power generated from fossil fuels, further reducing NRG's total emissions and continuing our progress since 2000.|
NRG's CO2 Intensity Targets
|NRG's goal is to reduce our overall CO2 emissions intensity to a level roughly equivalent to the rate of an efficient gas turbine by 2025. Through a combination of no- and low-carbon generation from high efficiency gas-fueled units and renewable sources like solar, biomass and wind; repowering or shutting down coal-fueled units; and exploring post-combustion carbon capture technologies, NRG is committed to doing its part in the fight against climate change.
It takes time to build new power generating facilities, but we are already on our way. As we continue to define a new approach to power generation, we believe we are well-positioned to be a "first-mover" in many of the major advances in the way power is generated and distributed in the coming years.
In 2010 and 2011, NRG brought a combined 400 MW of cleaner repowered capacity on at Devon and Middletown. We have brought 21 MW of new solar capacity online at Blythe, with several larger solar projects under construction.
|Our goal is not just to make our generation fleet cleaner, but also to make our operations cleaner at every level. Through projects at existing facilities to reduce electricity use and other waste, we saved 82 million gallons of water, avoided emitting 39,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent, and saved an estimated $3.1 million in 2010. NRG also voluntarily offset the carbon footprint of the Company's 2010 travel, buying enough carbon credits to offset 17,000 tons of carbon emissions.
We employ the three environmental 'R's—reduce, reuse and recycle—throughout the company. At our plants, we: