2008 Corporate Responsibility Report

How we are creating a smarter foundation for a sustainable future

Innovative Transportation Solutions and Technologies

For nearly two decades, PG&E has actively worked to advance cleaner, more efficient transportation technologies for our customers. We have also demonstrated leadership with our own fleet, pioneering the use of alternative fuels in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas and criteria emissions, our dependency on petroleum-based fuels and operating costs.

PG&E is testing Mitsubishi’s i-Miev, a dedicated electric vehicle.

The combined use of natural gas in PG&E’s vehicle fleet, along with more than 300 customer fleets, avoided the use of more than 16.9 million gallons of petroleum in 2008, which equals the avoidance of approximately 815 tons of NOX, 63 tons of particulate matter and approximately 61,900 tons of CO2 on a well-to-wheel basis.
Clean Air Transportation Program (Customer Fleets)*
 
2006
2007
2008

Compressed Natural Gas Therms Used (x1,000)
21,155.3
21,133.8
21,314.2

Avoided NOX Emissions (tons)
768
768
777

Avoided PM Emissions (tons)
60
60
60

Avoided CO2 Emissions (tons)
57,857
57,798
58,931

Equivalent Petroleum Gallons Displaced (x1,000)
15,883
15,867
16,139

Clean Air Transportation (PG&E’s Fleet)*
 
2006
2007
2008

Compressed Natural Gas Therms Used (x1,000)
637
868.8
1,019.8

Avoided NOX Emissions (tons)
23
32
38

Avoided PM Emissions (tons)
1.6
2.8
2.9

Avoided CO2 Emissions (tons)
1,859
2,536
2,977

Equivalent Petroleum Gallons Displaced (x1,000)
503
686
806

* These figures represent a full “well-to-wheel” analysis, which takes into account energy use and emissions at every stage of the process, from the moment the fuel is produced at the well to the moment the wheels are moved. Estimates compare the avoided emissions from PG&E’s CNG vehicles with petroleum usage based on the methodology outlined in Full Fuel Cycle Assessment (CEC-600-2007-003, June 2007), which uses the Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET emission model modified to California inputs.

Transportation Fuel Consumed by Pacific Gas and Electric Company
 
2006
2007
2008

Petroleum Consumed by PG&E fleet (gallons)1
10,886,311
10,230,254
10,667,611

Biodiesel Consumed by PG&E fleet (gallons)
0
220,490
264,170

1 Updated figures from 2007 Corporate Responsibility Report capture additional fuel quantities.

Anticipating Broader Use of Electric Vehicles

While no one fuel or technology is the answer to our fuel dependency and climate challenges, PG&E views battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) as a practical and dynamic solution.

PG&E is actively exploring the promise of vehicle electrification through a concentrated effort. Key areas of focus include analyzing the potential impacts to the electric grid from a wider adoption of electric drive vehicles, cost comparisons with traditional gas-powered vehicles and the potential for greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Currently, we are testing new and emerging vehicles in our own fleet. In 2008, we added four electric drive vehicles to our fleet—a Ford Escape PHEV, Scion e-box BEV, Mitsubishi i-Miev and our second Toyota Prius PHEV. PG&E was also one of 14 fleets in the nation to assess a hybrid diesel-electric bucket truck, which we have shown can cut fuel consumption by 30 to 60 percent and potentially save $5,000 a year in fuel costs.

Through field tests of these vehicles, we are helping to demonstrate the increased efficiency of electric vehicles. We are also helping to understand the impact on the grid of charging electric vehicles—and the need for a robust “smart charging” infrastructure to enable vehicles to recharge batteries automatically when ample electric supply is available. Doing so will help ensure that as more electric vehicles are commercially introduced, we ensure effective integration with the grid.

To support the development of a smart charging infrastructure, PG&E is actively engaged with the Electric Power Research Institute and the Society of Automotive Engineers to develop and revise both the important codes and standards related to charging of electric vehicles and the protocols needed to allow electric vehicles to communicate with the grid.

Improving Our Own Fleet

PG&E owns and operates the nation’s largest natural gas vehicle utility fleet with 1,110 compressed natural gas (CNG) passenger cars, pickups, vans and trucks. We were also the first utility in the nation to add five Class 8 heavy-duty liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks to our fleet, each of which reduces emissions by 15 to 20 percent, compared to equivalent diesel engines.

Additionally, we are currently testing a first-of-its-kind PHEV bucket truck and are helping to develop the first all-electric bucket truck. We also plan to test and deploy multiple hybrid technology designs in our bucket trucks and add a minimum of 15 dedicated electric vehicles for initial use at our power plants. And, finally, we are working with several major auto manufacturers to incorporate light-duty hybrid work trucks into our fleet.

Helping Customers Adopt and Use Alternative Fuels

PG&E has been a utility leader in clean air transportation infrastructure and customer support, helping more than 300 customers incorporate alternative fuel technologies into their fleet over the years. In 2008, we grew our CNG refueling infrastructure—available to customers and PG&E vehicles alike—and we continued to respond to customer requests for technical assistance with CNG fleets.

As part of PG&E’s strategic focus on developing the connection between vehicles and the electric grid, however, we shifted resources from CNG to electric vehicle strategies last year. In light of the opportunity for PG&E to help shape the future of an electric fuel source for our customers’ cars, we believe the focus of our resources must be on this emerging area.

PG&E’s network of natural gas fueling stations includes 39 CNG and 2 LNG stations, most of which are open to the public. This includes a new CNG station in Los Banos, servicing vehicles along a critical stretch of highway that passes through an extreme air quality non-compliance air basin of the San Joaquin Valley.

PG&E also used its expertise to help airport authorities take advantage of alternative fuel vehicles. We helped San Jose International Airport begin conversion of its shuttle bus fleet to CNG in 2007. Just one year later, the airport shuttle fleet became 100 percent CNG—serving all long-term parking and rental car service at one of California’s fastest-growing airports. Additionally, AT&T added 25 CNG vans to its commercial fleet with assistance and training from PG&E.