PSEG, in aggressive move, now aims to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2030

Company shaves 20 years off its target, adds utility to effort

Two summers ago, Public Service Enterprise Group made news when it announced plans to have its power generation businesses reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Thursday morning, the company dramatically accelerated its target date.

PSEG announced it is moving the milepost to the year 2030 — and including the Public Service Electric & Gas utility operation to the effort as well.

PSEG said it will meet its net-zero ambitions by launching a three-pronged 2030 climate vision that extends across its business — a climate vision that is one of the most aggressive in the country by a large utility and power generator.

The 2030 climate vision comprises three pillars:

  1. Net-zero emissions for PSEG operations, including PSE&G’s utility operations (electric and gas);
  2. 100% greenhouse gas-free, carbon-free power generation;
  3. Significant contributions to regional economy-wide decarbonization.

PSEG Chairman and CEO Ralph Izzo said the vision is reachable.

“PSEG’s climate vision for 2030 exemplifies the strategy we intend to pursue over the next decade — driving out harmful greenhouse gas emissions where they occur,” he said.

“The federal goal of achieving a 100% carbon-free electric supply by 2035 is an ambitious one that will require technology innovation, new policy frameworks and a commitment by businesses and consumers across the economy.”

PSEG is prepared to do just that.

“With our new comprehensive vision for net-zero by 2030, we’ve set an ambitious goal to reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions across our business — including our facilities and vehicles — in less than a decade, doing our part to support state and national objectives,” he said.

Izzo said PSEG’s net-zero 2030 climate vision is a significant milestone in the energy industry for three reasons:

  • Reach: PSEG’s net-zero commitment for its operations meets or exceeds commitments by regulated electricity and gas industry peers;
  • Scale: The ambition of PSEG’s net-zero 2030 vision is comprehensive, spanning all of PSEG’s operations;
  • Transparency: PSEG will deliver extensive and ongoing disclosure and reporting, providing updates of progress and forward-looking goals. PSEG actively invites collaboration with stakeholders as it continues to refine its climate strategy.

Izzo said PSEG’s net-zero 2030 climate vision continues the company’s track record of recognizing the importance of sustainability and environmental, social and governance considerations in the strategic planning and decision-making process.

In addition, Izzo feels PSEG’s pivot to 100% carbon-free generation is in line with President Joe Biden’s goal of decarbonizing the U.S. electric sector by 2035.

Here’s more on the three-pronged vision:

  1. Net-zero emissions for PSEG operations

PSEG’s regulated electric and gas utility, PSE&G, already has reduced GHG emissions by more than 50% from 2005 levels.

To transition to zero-carbon electricity generation and drive down the emissions from its operations, Izzo said the company also will focus on reducing GHG emissions associated with the use of natural gas, which it delivers to almost 2 million customers throughout New Jersey. Homes and businesses in the state rely on natural gas for space heating, water heating, cooking and other critical needs.

To accomplish this goal in less than 10 years, PSEG will leverage a suite of strategies — from modernizing its existing natural gas and electric transmission and distribution networks to investing in new technologies that support greater electrification and improve energy efficiency, Izzo said.

PSE&G’s successful Gas System Modernization Program, which replaces old cast-iron and unprotected steel gas mains, helps to achieve the 2023 methane goal of a 21.7% reduction of absolute methane emissions from 2018 to the end of 2023 and would allow it to reduce methane emissions significantly by 2030.

Izzo said the strategy to address emissions also includes evaluating alternatives to natural gas. These strategies, he said, will target reducing methane and other emissions, such as sulfur hexafluoride, that contribute to global warming and climate change, often more than carbon emissions.

In PSEG buildings and facilities, the company will look to achieve savings through energy efficiency solutions. For its vehicles, PSEG is rightsizing and electrifying the fleet and integrating alternative fuels for its vehicles. For any residual emissions, PSEG will explore high-quality carbon offsets.

  1. 100% GHG-free power generation

Izzo said decarbonizing power generation is the foundation for achieving the national- and state-level broader clean energy goals, including electrification of buildings and transportation, and ensuring that the electricity used is clean and reliable.

PSEG is committed to building on its existing decarbonization success, having achieved a 60% reduction in PSEG Power’s annual CO2 emissions since 2005, Izzo said.

Looking ahead, Izzo said PSEG will direct half of its current 2021-to-2025 capital spending program of approximately $14 billion to $16 billion toward decarbonization, emission reduction, methane reduction, clean energy transition and climate/storm adaptation.

By 2030, PSEG plans to transition its power generation portfolio to 100% GHG-free resources by aiming to preserve carbon-free nuclear generation and investing in utility-scale renewables.

  1. Significant contributions to regional and economy-wide decarbonization

Beyond its own operations, Izzo said PSEG will continue to promote and enable decarbonization across the industries and regions where it operates, through its Clean Energy Future programs, supporting businesses and residential customers as they aim to reduce their carbon footprints and help mitigate the long-term impacts of climate change.

PSEG also will continue to align and advocate for state and federal programs to support the transition to 100% clean energy, including an economy-wide price on carbon. PSEG supports New Jersey’s ambitious clean energy and climate change goals. PSEG will enable the low-carbon energy transition for customers through programs that promote wide adoption of energy efficiency and the switch to electric vehicles.

To further advance economy-wide decarbonization, Izzo said PSEG will continue to advocate for federal climate policy, including measures such as a national Clean Energy Standard and a federal production tax credit for existing merchant nuclear generation to support these critical resources and facilitate achievement of a national standard.

Izzo said PSEG also supports federal research and development funding for new technologies that can further reduce GHG emissions, as well as federal, state and local policies that encourage emission-reductions across all sectors of the economy.