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Protecting the Environment
Respecting & Protecting the Environment
Our responsibilities to our customers and the environment will always be connected. From how we operate today to how we plan for the future, we are committed to the environment while keeping our rates affordable for our customers. We have engaged millions of Californians in conserving electricity through our energy efficiency programs — resulting in lower emissions and improved air quality. In addition, we’re now delivering more renewable power than ever — in fact, more than any other utility nationwide.
Our commitment to operational and service excellence extends to environmental performance. Individual organizations within the company have accountability for environmental compliance, and they are supported by a centralized environmental support organization. We also are committed to working with stakeholders to pursue sustainable energy policies that keep power reliable and affordable for everyone while minimizing its environmental impact.
Air & Water Quality
At our Mountainview natural-gas fired generation facility in Redlands, Calif., we help protect water quality with an advanced, environmentally friendly, and efficient cooling system. It draws water from a mix of sources including reclaimed municipal water and contaminated groundwater. By treating it onsite for re-use, and recovering 75% to 80% of the water that would normally be discarded, we boost efficiency.
One of the Nation’s Leading Utilities for Renewable Energy
Helping Californians Go Solar
We have helped many thousands of homeowners, businesses, and multi-family residences harness the sun’s power with California Solar Initiative rebates. Also known as the Million Solar Roofs program, the California Solar Initiative is a ratepayer-funded statewide program designed to create 3,000 MW of new, distributed solar power. It pays an incentive or rebate to customers who install photovoltaic or solar thermal systems on their homes or businesses. As of Dec. 31, 2012, we had reserved incentives for approximately 39,000 customers, totaling 505 MW and $695 million in rebates.
We regularly offer workshops for homeowners, businesses, government and nonprofit customers to provide an overview of the program, and the rebates that are available. Other training programs (including web based training) are offered for photovoltaic installers, to help these contractors understand how these systems interconnect to the grid, and how to complete the rebate application forms on behalf of their customers, the property owners.
Solar Power on Warehouse Rooftops
In sunny, inland areas of Southern California, we are putting the rooftops of commercial and industrial buildings to productive use as solar generating stations. Our Solar Rooftop program may generate as much as 220 megawatts DC of solar power with rooftop and ground mounted photovoltaic panels, to be generated by us and independent power producers.
Delivering More Renewable Energy
Wind power production in California has doubled over the last decade, but before it can be used, this electricity must be transmitted from remote wind farms to the cities where most of us live and work. Additional transmission capacity is needed to move renewable energy to population centers. We are building the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, the nation’s largest transmission project devoted primarily to renewable energy. It will deliver up to 4,500 megawatts (MW) of power to California’s grid — enough to power 3 million homes.
At the same time, we’re expanding our infrastructure to bring in more solar power from eastern Riverside County. In our Devers-Colorado River project, we are developing 153 miles of high-voltage transmission to deliver up to 2,300 MW, once the West of Devers upgrade is completed.
Global Climate Change
Our Climate Change Emissions
Each year, we report our greenhouse gas emissions data to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). This report covers both the emissions from the generation we own, and the emissions from the electricity we purchase to serve our customers.
Helping Californians Conserve
Reducing overall demand for electricity means reduced generation and emissions, and our decades-old energy efficiency and conservation programs have long rewarded families for conserving energy, and helped businesses lower their usage.
AB 32: California’s Global Warming Solutions Act
While we believe that successfully meeting the challenge of global climate change requires a national policy framework, we supported AB 32, California’s landmark climate legislation. This law requires a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, through regulations and market mechanisms developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). We support the use of broad and efficient markets to achieve the goals of AB 32, along with appropriate market oversight to ensure that market trading activity cannot significantly raise energy costs for Californians.
As California implements AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, we’re working with policymakers, customers and other stakeholders to ensure that the nearly 14 million people who rely on us for electricity have reliable and affordable energy for the future.
Helping Industry Save Energy
We’re collaborating with the Climate Registry on the Cool Planet Program, to encourage industry to install energy efficiency (EE) systems. Participants are rewarded with membership to the Climate Registry, which provides tools to measure, verify, and report GHG emissions consistently across borders and industry sectors.
Conservation at Work: Reduce, Re-Use & Recycle
Saving Paper Through Online Billing
Over the past few years, we have increased enrollment in our online billing program by nearly 33%. Customers save on stamps, and we have reduced our paper consumption by 385 tons.
We fully support low-impact development and sustainable landscaping practices. Our construction of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum certified Wildomar facility implemented multiple cutting-edge Best Water Management Practices such as porous concrete, storm water bioretention basins, vegetated swales, inlet filters, and underground storm water detention chambers. Similarly, at our award-winning Villa Park substation, we cut water use in half and eliminated dry-weather runoff. The project saved 108 million gallons of water and resulted in a two-year cost savings of over $250,000.
Award for Workplace Recycling
Our WasteNot workplace recycling program has gained recognition on the state and national levels since we introduced it nearly 20 years ago. Recently, it won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Gold Achievement Award for comprehensive workplace recycling programs.
Environmentally Friendly Supply Chain
We participate in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise Transport Packaging Challenge, designed to minimize packaging wastes throughout the various supply chain processes. We recently changed our procurement contracts to formalize our intent to use environmentally-preferable products whenever possible. Our Strategic Suppliers Initiative rewards suppliers who have successful and ongoing sustainability programs of their own.