2008 Corporate Responsibility Report

How we are creating a smarter foundation for a sustainable future

Leveraging Cleaner Conventional Sources

PG&E’s work on energy efficiency and support of clean generating technologies is part of a broad portfolio designed to meet California’s growing energy demand in an environmentally responsible manner. To ensure a clean, safe and reliable supply of energy, our strategy also includes development of new, state-of-the-art natural gas-fueled plants that will be owned and operated by PG&E.

Last year, PG&E reached a number of major milestones with three facilities:

Photo of Peter Darbee and Tom Allen, principal project manager for the Gateway Generating Station, the first new power plant built by PG&E in nearly 20 years.
Photo: Lewis Stewart

  • Gateway Generating Station: We completed this 530 MW plant, the first new power plant built by PG&E in nearly 20 years. The plant, which came online in January 2009, features “dry cooling” technology, which uses 97 percent less water and produces 96 percent less discharge than a conventional water cooling system. Compared with older plants, the plant will yield at least 35 percent less CO2 for every megawatt hour of power produced.
  • Colusa Generating Station: We broke ground on this 657 MW power plant located in Colusa County. Expected to begin operation in 2010, the facility will serve nearly half a million homes using the latest technology and environmental design. The plant will use dry cooling technology to dramatically reduce water usage, and cleaner-burning turbines to reduce CO2 emissions by 35 percent relative to older plants.
  • Humboldt Bay Generating Station: We also broke ground on this 163 MW plant, part of our plan to build a new generation facility on the site of an old PG&E power plant, to be decommissioned. The facility, which is expected to be completed in 2010, will employ technology to produce 80 percent fewer ozone precursors and 30 percent less CO2 than the previous facility. The new design will also reduce water use by eliminating the need for “once-through” cooling.
Benchmarking NOX and SO2 Emissions1
National average, NOX:
1.94 lbs/MWh
PG&E’s emissions rate, NOX:
0.09 lbs/MWh


National average, SO2:
5.09 lbs/MWh

PG&E’s emissions rate, SO2:
0.0021 lbs/MWh

1 PG&E data reflects emissions from Utility-owned generation resources. There were no reportable mercury emissions from PG&E’s facilities.