By Ralph Izzo: Chairman, President and CEO at PSEG
Since the start of 2020, our nation has faced extraordinary challenges, including extreme weather, social unrest and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic – with each of these also creating new uncertainties for the economy.
Through it all, PSEG has been able to withstand adversity and focus on the many diverse communities we serve by relying on our committed and highly skilled workforce, and ensuring that health and safety remained our top priorities.
The challenges of 2020-21 also brought into sharper focus the mounting risks of extreme weather and climate change and the urgent need for comprehensive action.
In order to continue to provide our stakeholders with greater transparency into the opportunities and risks created by these challenges, PSEG has published our first-ever combined 2021 Sustainability and Climate Report, which includes updates on the company’s goals for air emissions, energy efficiency, transportation and waste minimization.
In 2020, for example, PSEG’s generation portfolio emission rates for NOx and SO2 were down year-over-year by 58% and 77% respectively, reflecting emission rates that are significantly below industry averages. The report also includes updates on biodiversity commitments and support for environmental justice and diversity, equity and inclusion across PSEG’s many diverse stakeholder groups and communities.
As a combined Sustainability and Climate Report, our new document also dives into the potential physical and transitional risks of climate change to help PSEG better plan and prepare for the changes ahead, including actions taken to achieve the company’s new net-zero climate vision for 2030.
Positive force in a changing world
Since our founding in 1903, PSEG has sought to make our communities better places to live and work. Today, PSEG’s mission has expanded as we seek to be a positive force in a changing world, and to support our customers and communities as we persevere together.
Our successful response to the turbulence of the past 18 months reflects the resilience of our employees, our leadership and our business. Our accomplishments through 2020 and 2021, and our evolution as a clean energy infrastructure-focused company, have set us firmly on the path toward a future that continues the fight against climate change, while also leading our nation and our industry toward the actions we must take to address its cause.
PSEG’s net-zero climate vision for 2030 is one of the first and most aggressive targets for a large utility and power generator – accelerating our goal for achieving greenhouse gas- and carbon-free generation by two decades and adding net-zero for scope 1 and 2 utility operations.
We are on track to eliminate nearly all fossil-fueled generation from our portfolio by late 2021 or early 2022. Moving forward, our power generation will be composed almost exclusively of our carbon-free nuclear plants, complemented by new investments and regional opportunities in offshore wind and grid-connected solar.
During the coming year, PSEG will continue its evolution as a primarily regulated clean energy infrastructure-focused company, driven by investments in universal energy efficiency and smart technology, electric vehicles, battery storage and system-wide grid modernization. As we carry out this shift, we are committed to a fair, equitable and transparent process – one that is grounded in treating people with dignity and respect, especially in difficult times.
Each of our efforts and investments are aimed at achieving PSEG’s Powering Progress vision for the future, in which people use less energy, and that energy is cleaner and delivered more reliably than ever.
Our commitments to social justice and a just transition
From programs aimed at recruiting more women and people of color into our workforce to our semi-annual pay equity analyses designed to eliminate bias in compensation, we made significant progress to advance a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and we intend to continue our work to elevate PSEG’s commitment to social and environmental justice.
PSEG is committed to a fair and just transition to a new clean energy economy, committed to ethical behavior and environmental justice for all communities, committed to the principles of ethical governance that will drive us there, committed to the health and safety of our workforce and especially the people who comprise the many diverse communities we serve.
The challenges of 2021 aren’t over. The pandemic remains a paramount concern, upending the economy and the nature of work for many. Severe weather is growing more frequent and more damaging – from flooding to wildfires to historic drought. Our political landscape remains polarized. We shall continue to help all of our stakeholders persevere.
There is no better or more critical time to be good stewards of the planet and work to leave it better than we found it – with lower emissions, less waste and a path to the future. For the sake of our families, our neighbors and our communities – and yours – we cannot let up.