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How NRG is Preparing for the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy

Published Dec 12, 2022 by Lou Ann Duvall

NRG's office in Princeton

NRG's office in Princeton, New Jersey (courtesy: NRG)

NRG is North America’s leading integrated power, gas, and home services company, serving roughly six million customers across the US and Canada. In 2021, NRG consolidated its corporate headquarters to Houston. Currently, NRG’s largest employee base, more than 3,000 is located in the greater Houston region.

As an energy company, NRG understands the industry's role in decarbonizing homes, communities, and the economy. This has been a key driver to NRG’s sustainability commitments and passion for innovating the products and services that power lives. As such, sustainability is woven into the fabric of NRG’s organization. 

We sat down with Jeanne-Mey Sun, Vice President of Sustainability at NRG, to learn more about what NRG’s doing to support corporate sustainability and its annual sustainability report. NRG is a member of the Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI) and is an active member of the Industry Decarbonization and CCUS steering committees. 

How does NRG think about decarbonization and corporate sustainability? 

As a company, we are committed to achieving net zero by 2050, with an interim target of 50% emissions reductions by 2025 from a 2014 baseline. These goals have been certified by the Science-based Targets initiative as 1.5° Celsius aligned. To meet our net-zero goal, NRG has identified multiple levers to transition the company onto a 1.5° pathway: decarbonization of existing business lines, diversification into low-emissions businesses, divestment of select high-emissions assets, and deployment of new technologies and innovations. 

In addition to our own sustainability progress, we are committed to leading the low-carbon transition by providing clean energy solutions to our customers through a breadth of sustainable products and services.

Share some examples of ways that NRG is involved in decarbonization efforts across the Houston region. 

The City of Houston has been an energy partner with NRG for over 15 years, and in 2020, NRG helped the city commit to powering all municipal operations with 100% renewable energy. 

NRG is also a founding member of EVolve, an organization dedicated to supporting and enabling the adoption of electric vehicles in the greater Houston area. 

We also actively support the climate-tech start-up ecosystem, including being a founding sponsor of Greentown Labs’ expansion to Houston and a founding supporter of the Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator. 

Describe how NRG is working with its customers to achieve its sustainability goals.

Our customers continue to be the central focus of our company, and it is our responsibility to provide our customers with multiple sustainable and efficient energy options to help them achieve their sustainability. We offer several products and services, such as renewable electricity plans, carbon offsets, renewable energy credits, and more. We are committed to working closely with our customers to provide tailored solutions to help them meet their goals. Our customers have the power to control what type of energy they use and when they consume it. It is this personalization and innovation that is helping customers achieve their targets.  

Outline how NRG developed its annual sustainability report and its five pillars (i.e.: business, customers, workplace, operations, suppliers). 

Our annual sustainability report reflects our longstanding commitment to continued leadership on climate, engagement with a diverse set of stakeholders to advance common sustainability objectives, and our growing portfolio of sustainable energy products. We have always tried to approach sustainability in an all-encompassing way, which spans our entire value chain and accounts for the interests of our stakeholder ecosystem. To demonstrate the comprehensiveness of our approach, we developed the five pillars. 

What are some of the more important priorities from NRG’s five pillars over the next year (i.e.: renewable electricity, optimizing portfolio of power plants, natural gas/hydrogen, alignment of efficiency & sustainability through innovation)?

Our framework will continue to support the development of products and services that help achieve customers’ energy goals and reduce their environmental impact. We also recognize the ever-growing importance of the people that power NRG, so our focus next year and beyond will be on building upon our many programs and initiatives that support, attract, and retain our talented workforce. 

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