Public Service Enterprise Group has now set itself the goal of achieving zero net climate emissions by 2030, an ambitious goal 20 years ahead of the previous target set by New Jersey’s largest energy company.
The target marks one of the first and most aggressive net zero emissions commitments set in the United States by a major utility and power generation company. “Net-zero” refers to the balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and those removed from the atmosphere.
PSEG’s targets include its utility, Public Service Electric & Gas, which supplies gas to nearly 2 million customers and electricity to 2.1 million others. It aims to achieve net zero emissions for all of its utility operations by 2030. By then, PSEG also expects all of its power generation to be produced by carbon-free electricity, primarily from its fleet. nuclear power plants.
This year, PSEG Power, an unregulated subsidiary of PSEG, plans to divest its non-nuclear generation fleet, including 6,750 megawatts of electricity generated by fossil fuels. PSEG plans to keep its nuclear generation fleet carbon-free, much of which receives taxpayer subsidies of $ 300 million per year to maintain its economic viability.
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In addition, the company said it aims to obtain 7,500 MW of offshore wind capacity to provide electricity to its customers. The Murphy administration wants to build 7,500 MW of offshore wind power off the coast of New Jersey by 2035.
In the tradition of Biden
The PSEG said its pivot to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2030 is in line with President Biden’s goal of decarbonizing the power sector by 2035.
“We have been a climate leader for decades,” said Kristen Ludecke, PSEG vice president of federal affairs, explaining why the company is stepping up its climate reduction targets.
“The PSEG’s Climate Vision for 2030 illustrates the strategy we intend to pursue over the next decade – to eliminate harmful greenhouse gas emissions where they occur,” said Ralph Izzo, President and CEO of PSEG. “The federal goal of achieving 100% carbon-free electricity supply is an ambitious goal that will require technological innovation, new policy frameworks and engagement of businesses and consumers across the economy. ”
“Since their carbon footprint is one of the cleanest in the country, I think that makes those targets less aggressive for the rest of the country’s utilities,” said Paul Patterson, energy analyst at Glenrock Associates in New York.
PSEG’s long-term strategy has been to transform a business that once depended on its power generation business to produce most of its profits into one that instead relies on its utility for most of its profits and develop its green energy business. This reflects a downward trend in profits for energy producers in recent years.
Since 2005, PSEG Power has achieved a 60% reduction in its carbon dioxide emissions in a process that has led to the shutdown of some of its dirtiest power plants, including all of its coal-fired units.
PSE & G, the utility, has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% from 2005 levels, but to meet the net zero emission targets it plans to invest heavily, especially in efforts to energy efficiency in buildings and installations and by electrifying a large part of the fleet over a period of 10 years.
Going forward, about half of its five-year capital spending program of around $ 14 to $ 16 billion will go to decarbonization, emission reduction, methane reduction and the transition to clean energy, according to the company.
Ludecke acknowledged that reducing the utility’s greenhouse gas emissions will likely be the most difficult aspect of reaching the 30% target.
To advance economy-wide decarbonization, PSEG continues to advocate for federal climate action, such as a national clean energy standard and a federal production tax credit for power plants. existing nuclear power plants.
Representative Bill Pascrell (DN.J) introduced a bill last week that would give nuclear units a tax credit for the production of electricity, a measure designed to help the economically disadvantaged sector.