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The future is what we make it.
Let’s make it a promising one for everyone.
Our commitment to sustainability is built into everything we do. Our approach to sustainability means we’re reducing our carbon footprint, fostering energy innovation & conservation and encouraging our employees and the communities we serve to take daily action to ensure a sustainable energy future for generations to come.
Read our 2020 Sustainability Strategy which outlines our Goals, Sustainable Operations, Innovations and Community Investment.
You can also find more information regarding sustainability in Sempra Energy’s Corporate Sustainability Report.
SDG&E Sustainability Goals
DO THE RIGHT THING
Each year we aim to:
Plant at least 10,000 trees (starting in 2021), support local biodiversity with the “Right Tree Right Place” program and intelligent water use
By 2030 we aim to:
- Divert 100% of our organic green waste, especially green waste related to vegetation management, from entering landfills
- Increase recycled water use to at least 90% at all our facilities
Sustainable Operations – Fleet Decarbonization; SF6 Alternatives
By 2030, we aim to:
- Electrify 100% of the Light Duty Fleet
- Transition 30% of our overall fleet to Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV)*
By 2040, we aim to:
- Operate a 100% ZEV fleet
- Deploy 100% non-SF6 equipment, everywhere feasible
“Outside in” Community
Each year we aim to:
Actively engage a growing network of external, community-based, nonprofit stakeholders that provides continuous constructive feedback and partners with us on meeting the needs of diverse, underserved and disadvantaged communities through sustainability initiatives
Creating Opportunities through Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Actions
Starting in 2020:
We are advancing our commitment to engage, act, measure and report our performance related to Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) with greater transparency and urgency. We are emphasizing five key pillars to track progress:
- Leading from the top
- Accelerating employee engagement
- Creating opportunity
- Driving conscious inclusion
- Partnering with the communities we serve
Sustainable Supply Chain
By 2025, we aim to:
Develop an energy-industry leading supply chain sustainability program
SHAPE THE FUTURE
Starting in 2020, we aim to:
Support California’s goal to transition to zero-emission vehicles by accelerating our strategic collaboration of key stakeholders** to deliver an ambitious region-wide clean transportation infrastructure goal, address air pollution and solidify the region’s leadership on the global transportation map; We will continue to shape constructive policies and legislation to ensure customer adoption and facilitate an equitable transition
Grid Modernization & Breakthrough Solutions
By 2022, we aim to:
Place two green hydrogen projects into service to offer long duration energy storage, increase system resiliency and reduce carbon intensity
By 2025, we aim to:
Plan and pilot a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) to further expand and leverage distribution-level demand response (DR) as a means to reduce GHG emissions, advance resource adequacy and enhance grid resiliency
By 2030, we aim to:
Collaborate with industry leaders and implement at least one breakthrough solution that mitigates direct emissions from gas-fired generation
* CPUC and CARB Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) technologies definition includes full battery electric vehicles (BEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Fleet goals contingent on original equipment manufacturer (OEM) vehicle availability and funding approval through the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
** These stakeholders include local jurisdictions, regional agencies, utilities and other key stakeholders.
Bringing You Renewable Energy
Approximately 40% of the electricity SDG&E procures to serve our customers comes from renewable sources, such as solar and wind – exceeding California’s mandate to have 33% renewable energy by 2020. There are no coal contracts in our energy portfolio. In addition, we have supported the integration of rooftop solar into the grid by creating a fast-track interconnection process and developing a patented device (Renewable Meter Adapter) to make it easier and cheaper for homeowners to install solar. Today, our service territory – encompassing San Diego and southern Orange counties – has the highest solar penetration among major utilities in California. For those customers who aren’t able to install rooftop solar, we established the EcoChoice™ program to give them the option to subscribe up to 100% renewable energy.
Large-Scale Lithium-Ion Battery
SDG&E is a pioneer in integrating energy storage into the grid to help maximize the use of renewable energy and improve reliability. In 2017, we opened what was then the world’s largest lithium-ion battery. The 30-megawatt facility in the City of Escondido can store up to 120 megawatt hours of energy, enough to power the equivalent of 20,000 homes for four hours. Inside the Escondido facility are 20,000 battery packs in containers that act like a giant sponge to soak up and store energy when it’s abundant and release it when it’s needed to meet demand or provide ancillary services (such as frequency regulation) to maintain grid stability.
Flow Battery Demonstration Project
We are testing vanadium redox flow battery technology in collaboration with Sumitomo Electric, Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), and the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). The flow battery, located in the Bonita community in south San Diego County, is part of a five-year demonstration project. In 2019, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) connected the battery to the state grid, calling the technology “groundbreaking” and “promising.” The 2-megawatt battery can store 8 megawatt hours of energy, enough to power the equivalent of about 1,000 homes for up to four hours.
1.5 Billion Gallons of Water Saved…and Counting
Built in 2006, SDG&E’s 566-megawatt Palomar Energy Center located in the City of Escondido not only produces more electricity than older plants that use the same amount of natural gas, it also uses reclaimed water (treated wastewater) in the electric generation process. The facility is the largest user of reclaimed water in Escondido, and it saved approximately 1.5 billion gallons of fresh water between 2017-2019.
Water-wise Landscaping at SDG&E Facilities
By making irrigation and other facility improvements, as well as replacing grass with drought-tolerant landscaping at our facilities, we have saved more than 220 million gallons of water between 2004-2020. Our headquarters in Kearny Mesa were re-landscaped in 2016 with drought-tolerant plants.
Transmission Tower Condensation Collection
More than 1,900 miles of transmission lines are needed to meet the energy demands of the 3.6 million people we serve. These lines are supported by a series of transmission towers. We thought of a cool idea to capture the water condensation that flows off the transmission towers and use that water for dust control and other operations near these towers. We collect the condensation in underground basins, which means no portable water truck is needed.
Our most recent data shows we have diverted or reclaimed more than 13.5 tons of waste since 2017. Efforts include reducing our food waste through composting the pre-consumer food waste from our on-site dining facilities and donating unused food to Feeding San Diego. By 2030, we aim to divert 100% of our organic green waste.
Since 2007, we have invested more than $2 billion to strengthen the regional grid against threats posed by climate change, in particular wildfire risk. Our grid enhancement efforts include replacing wood poles with steel poles, strategic undergrounding of power lines and an innovation that cuts power off to broken power lines before they hit the ground. To minimize the impact of Public Safety Power Shutoffs – a tool of last resort to prevent wildfires – we have developed and continue to develop microgrids. These mini power grids can keep our critical customers, often disadvantaged communities in our high fire threat districts, up and running when power on the main grid needs to be turned off to protect public safety.
To facilitate the transition to zero-emission transportation – a key strategy for meeting California’s climate action goals, we have been working aggressively to expand the electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in our region. The infrastructure supports not only electric cars, but also medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and equipment, such as electric buses, trucks, shuttles and forklifts. Simultaneously, SDG&E is upgrading its company fleet, with the goal of operating a 100% zero-emission fleet by 2040.
Studying Climate Change Impacts
We were the first utility in the country to develop a dedicated Fire Science & Climate Adaptation Department. The department has built extensive collaboration with government, academia and nonprofit institutions to advance research and understanding of climate change. Because of our progressive wildfire risk mitigation program, our company was tapped to join the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Partnership for Energy Sector Climate Resilience Initiative. As a leading participant in the partnership, SDG&E has collaborated with the DOE and 16 other utilities to improve the resilience of the nation’s energy infrastructure against extreme weather and climate change impacts. The goal of the partnership is to identify the challenges the energy industry is facing today and work together to develop sustainable solutions. We are committed to adopting new best practices and innovations to continue our region’s climate resiliency leadership.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG)
SDG&E is a leader in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reporting, joining the California Climate Action Registry (CCAR) in 2003 and The Climate Registry (TCR) in 2008. We supported the development of GHG reporting guidelines early on and began voluntary reporting before reporting became mandatory. We also began third-party verification of our first 2004 emissions inventory in 2005.
SDG&E has a long history of supporting local environmental nonprofits and their initiatives through employee volunteerism and our annual Environmental Champions program. Each year, we actively engage with a network of community-based, nonprofit stakeholders who can provide feedback and partner with us to meet the needs of underserved and disadvantaged communities through sustainability initiatives. Our company is committed to facilitating a just and equitable transition to a clean energy economy, so vulnerable populations who are disproportionately impacted by climate change are not left behind.