PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2021

COVID-19 Response

Climate Change

At PG&E, we are doing our part to transition California to a decarbonized and climate-resilient economy. This commitment includes aligning our resources and business strategy with the state’s clean energy vision.

We advocate for policies and programs that create a resilient system to provide safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy to our customers. We’re also working to reduce the ever-growing risks posed by extreme weather and wildfires by incorporating forward-looking climate data into our asset management and decision making.

Our Approach

PG&E is committed to California’s vision of a sustainable energy future. This includes our support for the state’s implementation of SB 100 and carbon neutrality by 2045 in a reliable and cost-effective manner for customers.

SB 100, which includes increased Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) objectives and clean energy goals, is still being implemented by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California Energy Commission (CEC) and California Air Resources Board (CARB). Additionally, Executive Order B-55-18 sets a statewide goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. We will be an active participant in efforts in the Legislature to codify the carbon neutrality goal and in proceedings at the CPUC, CEC and CARB to determine how to achieve carbon neutrality.

California Climate and Clean Energy Milestones

2020
33% renewable electricity (SB 2X1)* (Footnote * PG&E surpassed this target)
Economy-wide carbon emissions below the 1990 level (AB 32
2030
5 million zero emissions vehicles on the road (EO-B-55-18)
60% renewable electricity (SB 100)
Double energy efficiency in existing buildings (SB 350)
Economy-wide carbon emissions 40% below the 1990 level (SB 32)
2035
End the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and light-duty trucks (EO N-79-20)
2045
100% carbon-free electricity (SB 100)
Transition 100% of medium- and heavy-duty fleet to zero-emission vehicles, where feasible (EO N-79-20)
Economy-wide carbon neutrality (EO B-55-18)
  • * PG&E surpassed this target
  • * PG&E surpassed this target

California’s 2045 Carbon Neutrality Goal

  • Assemby Bill 32 (2006), Reduce to 1990 levels by 2020
  • Senate Bill 32 (2016), 40% below 1990 levels by 2030
  • Executive Order (2005), 80% below 1990 levels by 2050
  • Executive Order (2018), Carbon neutrality by 2045 (Remaing emissoins balanced by removals)

Climate Policy

PG&E supports the decarbonization of California’s economy through timely, durable, effective and affordable policy and energy solutions. We remain committed to climate actions to reduce greenhouse gases and address the impacts of global warming—from deploying clean energy technologies to continuing to lead and innovate on energy efficiency.

CARB adopted its 2030 Scoping Plan Update in 2018, which established the state’s plan for achieving the 2030 GHG target. We remain engaged in state regulatory and legislative climate change activities to meet the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals at the lowest possible cost to customers.

We also remain focused on other Scoping Plan measures such as Low Carbon Fuel Standard implementation and the reduction of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants per SB 1383, which includes specific 2030 emission reduction goals for methane, fluorinated gases and anthropogenic black carbon.

PG&E also supports California’s stringent greenhouse tailpipe emissions standards, as well as advancing EV adoption by providing tax incentives and support for charging infrastructure. In 2020, PG&E Corporation joined the Zero Emission Transportation Association as a founding member to advocate for federal policies to accelerate transportation electrification, including stricter tailpipe emissions standards.

Addressing Our Own Carbon Footprint

As part of PG&E’s broader commitment to address climate change, we launched the Million Ton Challenge, a voluntary five-year carbon reduction goal for Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s operations. The goal is to avoid one million tons of cumulative greenhouse gas emissions from our operations from 2018 through 2022, compared to a 2016 baseline.

To meet the goal, we are working to reduce emissions across several business areas:

  • Saving energy through energy-efficient and more sustainable facilities,
  • Reducing methane emissions from natural gas operations,
  • Continuing to deploy a smarter, cleaner fleet of PG&E vehicles, and
  • Adopting environmentally responsible products and services, with a focus on electric substation equipment.

Engaging Our Customers and Communities

PG&E actively works with customers to help them achieve energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions through a broad range of programs and incentives for energy efficiency, demand response and distributed generation and storage. These efforts include helping local governments develop strategies and implementation plans to save energy and reduce emissions, and connecting them with PG&E programs and other resources to help them meet their energy goals.

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

As California continues to experience the impacts of climate change, PG&E is taking action to build a more climate-resilient energy network. PG&E’s infrastructure spans more than 70,000 square miles and faces a variety of risks driven by the changing climate, including heat waves, more frequent and extreme storms and wildfires, drought, subsidence and rising sea levels.

Adapting to these changing risks involves understanding the impacts of climate change on our business, coworkers, customers and the communities we serve. It also means being prepared to withstand and rapidly recover from major disruptions in service caused by climate-driven weather events. PG&E’s commitment is to continue to provide safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy service even as the climate conditions under which we operate become more challenging.

The Utility’s climate adaptation program is overseen by our Climate Resilience Officer Committee, which includes leaders from key departments across the business. This group of senior leaders meets regularly to track progress, offer guidance and support proactive decision-making with climate change risks in mind.

PG&E’s multipronged approach includes:

  • Integrating climate science into key business functions and creating tools to support planning and decision-making that account for future climate conditions. For example:
    • We are leveraging data from Cal-Adapt, the state’s portal for climate projection data, as we strive to ensure that investments in our system will be resilient in light of more extreme weather expected in the future.
    • We are conducting a multi-year, service area-wide climate change vulnerability assessment, using the best-available climate projections for California to understand future hazards and impacts to the grid.
    • We are integrating climate data into our strategic risk planning process. Pacific Gas and Electric Company filed its second Risk Assessment Mitigation Phase (RAMP) report with the CPUC in 2020, improving on its 2017 RAMP filing by including climate change as a cross-cutting factor that influences many other enterprise risks.
    • We have begun to assess the maturity of key capabilities among our lines of business that are critical to effectively plan for climate change. In 2018, PG&E set our first internal climate resilience baseline that assessed our capabilities of accessing, sharing and using climate data in decision-making, and we plan to reassess our climate resilience capabilities in 2021.
    • We are also conducting research into specific climate impacts and how they relate to PG&E’s infrastructure. This research is designed to empower decision-makers with the information they need to make investments that are responsive to today’s needs while also being ready for a more uncertain climate future.
    • We are developing climate change resilience design guidance so that forward-looking climate change data is consistently incorporated into design standards, specifications and procedures.
    • We are coordinating internally to bridge the gap between near-term emergency preparedness efforts and longer-term climatic trends that may contribute to more extreme weather events.
  • Engaging with utility peers and policymakers to advance energy sector climate resilience, stay up to date on the most recent developments in the field, and help state and federal officials in their efforts to prepare for climate change. We participate in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research’s Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Partnership for Energy Sector Climate Resilience. We are also an active participant in CPUC efforts to establish guidance for utilities regarding adapting to climate change.

Air Quality and Environmental Justice

PG&E is working to strengthen our engagement and collaboration with environmental and social justice stakeholders, as part of a company-wide effort to better address the needs of these communities. This work is guided by PG&E’s Environmental Justice Policy (PDF).

In July 2017, California took an important step to address air pollution in the most heavily burdened communities through the passage of AB 617, which directs CARB to develop a community air monitoring and community emissions reduction program and to deploy them in the highest priority communities.

PG&E strongly supports a comprehensive, statewide air protection program and was actively engaged in the development and passage of AB 617. PG&E is working with CARB and other stakeholders through the AB 617 implementation process to ensure that the community air-protection programs are successful and effective at reducing emissions in disadvantaged communities.

2020 Milestones

In 2020, we continued to minimize our carbon footprint and prepare for the consequences of a changing climate:

  • Delivered clean energy to customers. In 2020, about 85% of the electricity we supplied to customers was greenhouse-gas free.
  • Reduced emissions from our operations. In the third year of the Million Ton Challenge, Pacific Gas and Electric Company avoided more than 370,000 tons of CO2. With a total of more than 900,000 tons avoided to date, we are well on our way toward our five-year goal. This included avoiding emissions through energy-efficient and more sustainable facilities, continuing to deploy clean fleet vehicles, and reducing methane emissions from natural gas operations.
  • Launched our second Climate Vulnerability Assessment. PG&E is embarking on a service area-wide assessment of how climate-driven natural hazards will impact our assets. This climate vulnerability assessment, which will be conducted over several years, will rely on recent climate projections from California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. By characterizing the risks of California’s future climate, the assessment will help PG&E make climate-smart investments in the near term to continue providing safe, clean, affordable and reliable energy to customers in the future.

Measuring Progress

We believe it’s essential that investors, customers, policymakers and other stakeholders have access to information that allows them to assess and understand the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.

Mandatory Emissions Reporting

Under AB 32’s annual reporting requirements, PG&E reports greenhouse gas emissions to CARB. These reports include emissions from our electric generation facilities, natural gas compressor stations, natural gas supplied to customers and the fugitive emissions from our natural gas distribution system and compressor stations.

The following table shows the greenhouse gas emissions data PG&E reported to CARB under AB 32.

PG&E Emissions Reported to the California Air Resources Board: CO2-e Emissions from Owned Power Generation Footnote 1 and Operations
2018 2019 2020
Total CO2-e Emissions (metric tons) 2,512,130 2,484,127 2,550,622
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 179,025 189,163 227,214
Gateway Generating Station 1,163,952 1,137,160 1,143,587
Colusa Generating Station 1,169,153 1,157,804 1,179,821
CO2 Emissions Rates (lbs/MWh)
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 1,025 1,028 1,033
Gateway Generating Station 872 872 882
Colusa Generating Station 861 842 855
Fossil Plants Footnote 2 876 868 881
All Plants Footnote 3 171 163 194
Other CO2-e Emissions (metric tons)
Natural Gas Compressor Stations Footnote 4 299,256 344,810 315,802
Distribution Fugitive Natural Gas Emissions 497,299 496,789 497,512
Customer Natural Gas Use Footnote 5 41,664,525 42,058,499 40,304,583
  • 1. PG&E’s owned net generation was 28,900 GWh in 2020.1
  • 2. CO2 emissions rate apply to Fossil-fuel combustion Generating Stations only.2
  • 3. Includes all PG&E-owned generation sources, including nuclear, hydroelectric and renewable energy.3
  • 4. Includes, but is not limited to, compressor stations and storage facilities emitting more than 25,000 metric tons of CO2-e annually.4
  • 5. Includes emissions from the combustion of natural gas delivered to all entities on PG&E’s distribution system, with the exception of gas delivered to other natural gas local distribution companies. This figure does not represent PG&E’s compliance obligation under AB 32, which is equivalent to the above-reported value less the emissions from fuel that is delivered to covered entities, as calculated by CARB.5

PG&E also reports the greenhouse gas emissions from our facilities and operations to EPA under EPA’s mandatory reporting requirements.

Voluntary Emissions Reporting

On a voluntary basis, PG&E reports—and obtains third-party verification for—our annual corporate greenhouse gas emissions inventory with The Climate Registry, a nonprofit organization. In 2019, the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission rate for PG&E’s delivered electricity was virtually greenhouse gas emissions free at 2.68 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. This is PG&E’s most recent third-party verified emission rate.

For 2019 emissions reporting, PG&E used the CEC’s Power Source Disclosure program methodology to calculate the CO2 emission rate associated with the electricity delivered to retail customers. As required by Assembly Bill (AB) 1110, the CEC modified the Power Source Disclosure program methodology in 2020 for the 2019 reporting year. This methodology differed from prior reporting years and results in a significantly lower emissions rate. This is the same methodology PG&E used for its 2019 Power Content Label.

Each year, PG&E also reports its greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategies to the CDP, an international not-for-profit organization that requests information on behalf of institutional investors.

Benchmarking Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Delivered Electricity
(Pounds of CO2 per MWh)
U.S. Average Footnote 1 947
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
2019 2.68 Footnote 2
2018 206
2017 210
2016 294
2015 405
2014 435
2013 427
2012 445
2011 393
2010 445
  • 1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency eGRID 2018.1
  • 2. For 2019 emissions reporting, PG&E used the CEC’s Power Source Disclosure program methodology to calculate the CO2 emission rate associated with the electricity delivered to retail customers. As required by AB 1110, the CEC modified the Power Source Disclosure program methodology in 2020 for the 2019 reporting year. This methodology differed from prior reporting years and results in a significantly lower emissions rate.2

From year to year, several factors affect PG&E’s power mix and emissions, including the availability of clean hydro power and renewable energy in our energy mix, customer electricity demand, the share of customers in our service area receiving procurement service from PG&E, as well as the availability and flexibility of the power plants in our portfolio. The emission rate accounts for power purchased from third parties on behalf of PG&E’s customers.

Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Source Category
(Million Metric Tons CO2-e) Footnote 1
2017 2018 2019
Total 46.25 47.87 45.86
Owned Generation 2.30 2.52 2.49
Delivered Retail Electricity Footnote 2 5.30 2.37 0.04
Electricity Transmission and Distribution Line Losses 0.34 0.14 0.01
Customer Natural Gas Use 36.29 40.93 41.30
Process and Fugitive Emissions from Natural Gas Systems 1.62 1.47 1.56
Gas Compressor Stations 0.23 0.25 0.32
Transportation 0.10 0.09 0.09
Facility Gas and Electricity Use 0.03 0.03 0.01
Sulfur Hexaflouride (SF6) from Electrical Equipment 0.03 0.06 0.04
Other Emissions 0.01 0.01 0.01
  • 1. The protocols for measuring greenhouse gas emissions differ between mandatory and voluntary reporting regimes, resulting in some differences in the table above compared to PG&E’s emissions reported to the California Air Resources Board.1
  • 2. For 2019 emissions reporting, PG&E used the CEC’s Power Source Disclosure program methodology to calculate the CO2 emission rate associated with the electricity delivered to retail customers. As required by AB 1110, the CEC modified the Power Source Disclosure program methodology in 2020 for the 2019 reporting year. This methodology differed from prior reporting years and results in a significantly lower emissions rate.2
PG&E’s Scope 1, 2 and 3 Greenhouse Gas Emissions
(Million Metric Tons CO2-e)
2017 2018 2019
Subtotal 46.25 47.87 45.86
Scope 1 4.29 4.41 4.50
Scope 2 0.36 0.16 0.01
Scope 3 Footnote 1, Footnote 2 41.59 43.31 41.35
  • 1. The emissions associated with purchased electricity are considered Scope 3 per The Climate Registry’s Electric Power Sector Protocol for the Voluntary Reporting Program, Annex I to the General Reporting Protocol, June 2009, Version 1.0.1
  • 2. For 2019 emissions reporting, PG&E used the CEC’s Power Source Disclosure program methodology to calculate the CO2 emission rate associated with the electricity delivered to retail customers. As required by AB 1110, the CEC modified the Power Source Disclosure program methodology in 2020 for the 2019 reporting year. This methodology differed from prior reporting years and results in a significantly lower emissions rate.2
PG&E’s Scope 1 Greenhouse Gas Emissions
(Million Metric Tons CO2-e) Footnote 1
2017 2018 2019
Total Scope 1 Greenhouse Gas Emissions 4.29 4.41 4.50
SF6 from Electrical Equipment 0.03 0.06 0.04
Facility Natural Gas Use 0.01 0.01 0.01
Gas Compressor Stations 0.23 0.25 0.32
Owned Fossil Generation 2.30 2.52 2.49
Process and Fugitive Emissions from Natural Gas System 1.62 1.47 1.56
Transportation 0.10 0.09 0.09
  • 1. Individual sources may not equal total due to rounding.1
PG&E’s Scope 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions
(Million Metric Tons CO2-e)
2017 2018 2019
Total Scope 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions 0.36 0.16 0.01
Electricity Transmission and Distribution Line Losses 0.34 0.14 0.01
Facility Electricity Use 0.02 0.01 0.001
PG&E’s Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas Emissions
(Million Metric Tons CO2)
2017 2018 2019
Total Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas Emissions 41.59 43.31 41.35
Purchased Electricity (Net) Footnote 1 5.29 2.37 0.04
Customer Natural Gas Use Footnote 2 36.29 40.93 41.30
Other Scope 3 emissions Footnote 3 0.01 0.01 0.01
  • 1. For 2019 emissions reporting, PG&E used the CEC’s Power Source Disclosure program methodology to calculate the CO2 emission rate associated with the electricity delivered to retail customers. As required by AB 1110, the CEC modified the Power Source Disclosure program methodology in 2020 for the 2019 reporting year. This methodology differed from prior reporting years and results in a significantly lower emissions rate.1
  • 2. This figure includes the emissions from the combustion of natural gas delivered to all entities on PG&E’s distribution system, with the exception of gas delivered to other natural gas local distribution companies, as well as gas delivered to PG&E facilities such as power plants, compressor stations and offices, the emissions of which are reported separately.2
  • 3. Other Scope 3 emissions include the greenhouse gas emissions from business air travel, waste management and employee commuting.3